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Why All Supplements Are Not The Same

ESTIMATED READING TIME 6 MINUTES

Why all supplements are not the same

Why All Supplements Are Not The Same

So, you’ve consulted a natural health practitioner and they’ve advised you to take a supplement. But then you pop down to your local supermarket or chemist and see products containing similar nutrients at a fraction of the price. They’re not quite the same but seem to be near enough. They’ll do, surely? Well, unfortunately, the answer is usually no.

In this article you’ll learn why all supplements aren’t created equally, plus some of the rationale your practitioner may have used when formulating your supplement plan.

Why are Supplements Needed?

In an ideal world, your body would obtain all it needs to remain healthy from the food you eat. But unfortunately, nowadays nobody lives in an ideal world.

Foods, even fresh natural plant foods, are lower in minerals than they were in your grandparents day. This is because the soil they grow in has become nutrient-depleted over the years. They’ve often then been flown thousands of miles to reach you and stored for long periods. This means their nutrient content tends to decline still further.

On top of this, you personally might require additional nutrients for various reasons. Perhaps you’re under stress, meaning your body needs more, for example, B vitamins. Your gut might not be working as well as it could, so it’s harder to obtain sufficient nutrients from your food. Toxins from your environment may be impossible to avoid, so your organs of detoxification need additional vitamins and minerals to function optimally. You may have health issues that enhance your need for other nutrients.

So, alongside changes to your diet, your practitioner has concluded your body’s imbalances will correct themselves more readily if you take additional nutrients, at least for a while. Typically, you’ll be provided with a supplement plan recommending specific supplements made by particular companies.

Balance is Key

Those supplements you picked up at the supermarket will invariably contain different levels of nutrients to those recommended by your practitioner. However, many vitamins and minerals work in combination with one another. Or taking one specific nutrient may naturally increase your need for another. This is why the correct balance is so important.

Nutrients Exist in Different Forms

Nutrients come in various forms in capsules and tablets. For example, common forms of calcium in supplements include calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Magnesium on the other hand often exists as oxide, citrate or malate. The type used dictates how easy or difficult it is for your body to absorb and use the specific nutrient.

Calcium carbonate, for example, is pretty cheap – it’s actually chalk, which makes up the white cliffs of Dover. But it’s not easy for your body to use the calcium when it’s in this form – you might absorb only a small amount of it. Plus, chalk neutralises your stomach acid, making it harder for you to absorb other nutrients. Calcium in the form of calcium citrate, or complexed as it would be in a food, is easier to absorb. Magnesium existing as magnesium malate provides a source of malic acid. This provides health benefits of its own, particularly for energy support.

Your practitioner will know which form of nutrient is most suitable for you.

Read Those Labels

Tablets or capsules don’t just contain nutrients. To help the powder flow through the capsule machine, or to make the tablet stick together, other substances known as excipients are needed. Reputable manufacturers use minimal excipients comprised of natural substances that won’t cause an allergic reaction or interfere with the absorption of the nutrients. More unwelcome excipients include GMO ingredients, artificial colours, sweeteners and flavourings.

Purity Varies

As with food, supplements vary in their purity. Fish oil, for example, should be rigorously screened for any pollutants such as PCBs and heavy metals routinely present in seas and therefore in fish. Herbs and other plant ingredients should be similarly checked for contaminants, and obtained from organic growers. Your practitioner will have also checked which sources are the most sustainable, as a sustainable planet is a healthy planet.

Does it Contain What it Says?

Supplement manufacturers need to constantly test and check every batch to ensure their suppliers are sending what they say they are. It’s cheaper not to bother of course, but in that case, a company might not know if their supplier quietly changes their source to one of an inferior quality. It does happen, but reputable supplement companies carry out regular checks, and practitioners know which businesses are on the ball.

Personalised Supplementation

The world of nutritional supplements can be complicated, but that’s why your practitioner has spent many years studying to get where they are. As in most things in life, some supplements are cheap for a reason.

Obtaining a detailed health history from you enables your practitioner to select exactly the right supplements for your circumstances. This means your supplement programme is personalised to optimise your health.

If you’d like to find out more about personalised nutrition, contact us here.

Did you know you can request a FREE 15 minute Discovery Call

Do you need personalised natural support with your nutrition and suppplements? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.

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