The short answer is no. But read on, there are quite a few conditions to this answer.
Start with a healthy balanced lifestyle
The conditions are that your daily diet contains a wide variety and high quantity of vegetables and fruits grown locally in healthy soils, good quality vegetarian and/ or grass fed proteins and the right balance of essential fats. Add to this a lifestyle including regular exercise, limited exposure to toxins, good exposure to sunshine and a life free from stress. There are many times in our life when some of these conditions cannot be met, an example of which is in winter when we don’t get our vitamin D requirement from sunshine and haven’t built up enough storage from the summer months, sometimes a supplement can be helpful to support our immune system through this time.
When should we take supplements?
The likelihood is that we all have times in our lives where our diet isn't great, or we're under stress and this is where the right supplements can be fantastic to support us through!
However, supplements are not the answer to all ailments and are certainly not in place of good quality foods. Many clients come to see our Nutrition team wanting just a supplement plan for their painful IBS, to help them shed a few pounds, to aid a restful night’s sleep or to lift their mood. The truth is that we cannot resolve these matters using supplements alone. It should be a combination approach with dietary and lifestyle factors as priority. Supplements can then be used as a useful adjunct to a unique and tailored program.
A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous too! For example, taking a single nutrient longer term may compete for absorption with other nutrients and then you can end up with other deficiencies. Magazine articles may include details on the latest herb that helps weight loss or the new type of essential fat that is a cure all. The truth is that supplements, as diet, needs to be varied, so questions need to be asked as to why people have been taking the same supplement for years since reading 'that' article. If people are still using 'said' supplement, surely they are not working?
Then we have the issue of what I believe to be countless nutrients that we do not even know exist yet. Vitamins have only been isolated in relatively recent times and there are many more tiny molecules yet to be discovered and health benefits identified. How can we put in a capsule something that we do not even know exists?
The government encourage us to look at food labels for health information so what about the ingredients on your supplement bottle? Recognise everything? A lot of supplements contain a myriad of fillers, binders and preservatives that allow them to be manufactured cheaply and easily. We too easily trust that supplements are health giving yet many companies use cheap forms of ingredients or preservatives that may have a negative impact on health.
Take professional advice
If considering taking supplements, we recommend taking advice from our Nutrition team to ensure that these are right for your health needs and work for you based on diet, lifestyle and even family history and genetics. You should also check that they work with any medications that have been prescribed by your GP and that there are no contraindications.
At Therapy Organics, we only sell over the counter supplements that have been rigorously scrutinized so our customers can be assured of safety and quality. We also have a team of highly qualified Nutrition trained practitioners in store to help provide a professional service.
Jackie Coldwell is co-Director of Therapy Organics, and leads the Nutrtional Therapy Team.See more Articles by Jackie
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