Supplements are a BIG business. According to webmd.com the total sales of the U.S. dietary supplement industry in 2016 were 22.1 billion $. That is huge and means that there are a lot of people using supplements. The attraction of using supplements is strong: the ads promise more energy and vitality after taking certain vitamins/minerals. So you might think: why shouldn't I try that vitamin or that brand? What's the harm? But there really can be harm in jumping in to the world of supplements and especially if you don't know anything about the business, it is easy to over-do it..
Truth to be told I use supplements and why not? But I think that nowadays there is a fine line between over-doing it and doing it "the right way". Thus, who can say when and how much to use them? Because this blog is about my opinions on healthy issues, I will write on my perspective. But that doesn't mean I haven't done my research and this case I have done.
Why should you use them?
Nowadays soils are in a very poor condition compared to where they were 100 years ago. That is mainly because the soils lacks of nutrients due to overfarming and erosion. This means that for to get the same amount of vitamins from an apple compared to the apple farmed 100 years ago, you have to eat 3 apples instead of eating just one. This is the main reason why I started to take supplements: I wanted to make sure that I would get enough vitamins. However, researchers comment that you shouldn't take vitamins just for the sake of prevention.
Also, if your diet is very constricted, you should make sure that you get all the vitamins and take the right supplements.
What do I use?
First, I'll have to say that lately have I reduced my intake on supplements. There are many reasons for this. The first one is that as I researched supplements, I came across to this fact that supplements can have harmful ingredients and they can be contaminated with heavy metals. As I try to eat as clean food as possible, I don't want any extra harmful ingredients in my gut. Secondly, with so many supplements on the market, it is hard to research on the fact that how do these supplements react together? You need to be extra careful with fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, K, which can build up in your system. Thirdly, all these supplements will make a strain on your liver and I don't want to push my liver. I want my liver to do its normal business without any exttra efforts trying to neutralize other chemicals.
So, which vitamins and minerals do I use nowadays? I consume vitamins B, C, zinc, magnesium and calcium *. I chose to use these because I have noticed that there actually is a need for these. I tested this with myself and after consuming these supplements, I could tell a difference in my wellbeing. Because I work out a lot, I need magnesium * which will reduce muscle cramps and help me to sleep better. Zinc *, vitamins B * and C * will boost my immunity, especially now when I am still recovering from pneumonia. If you live in the north, as I do, it is very important to take vitamin D *. I usually take even more (25 ug) than normal recommendations (10 ug) because I don't necessarily take them every day and there have been researches on how much is too much and this 10 ug is not too much. Always remember that my opinions are my own and you should do it as it best suites you. In addition, if you take vitamins from many different bottles, make sure that you don´t get an overdose. If you want a recommendation for a quality multivitamin, I recommend this * or some of these *. I personally like taking one multivitamin and my probiotics in the morning and in addition magnesium and calcium in the evenings.
Other supplemets which I take are: probiotics *, collagen and green powder and occasionally protein powder. I will do a different post on these. Previously I ordered my vitamins from Iherb, probiotics*, Solgar Magnesium*, Solgar Vitamin D3*, Solgar-B-Complex* and Zinc*. Nowadays I order them on Finnish webpages, such as hyvinvoinnin tavaratalo * and voimia *. When they are on sale, I will stock them.
- "Less is more" is a good quote which I have been trying to implement in every area of my life.I mentioned that I have reduced the intake on some vitamins and minerals, so an example of this is omega 3. Why did I do this? I stopped using omega3 because I found out that you don't need any extra omega3 from a bottle if you consume enough fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts or chiaseeds. As I eat these foods regularly, I stopped using the supplements. However, if you eat a lot of processed food which are cooked with harmful oils, you will probably have too much omega 6. It is important for your health that the relationship between omega3 and omega 6 is in a good balance: anything in between 5:1 - 1:1. People who eat a lot of pastries, french fries, margarine, potato chips, other than organic meat etc, the relationship can be 15:1 and that isn't healthy thing.
- As I mentioned before, some supplements can contain harmful ingredients, so it is important to invest in respected and qualified brands such as Thorne, Solgar.
- Lastly, I encourage you to use your common sense when you are buying supplements: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be critical in what you read. There are a lot of good journals avalable, for instance International Journal of Sports, Nutrition and Exercise or Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.
Keep it real,
* These are affiliate links.