There is indeed no shortage of supplements available on the market today, and there’s almost no condition, real or imaginary, that you can’t find a supplement for.
But what do we need? And how do we know if we’re taking enough, too much, or if what we take is clashing with everything else we take? Do we even pay attention to the side-effects, or do we think because it’s a natural product it can only be good for us?
We’re going to pay some attention to some of the basic supplements, and then throw in some interesting ones just for fun. Most of us take a multivitamin, right? Does yours contain vitamins and minerals as well as trace elements? Does it contain the minimal RDA (which will only prevent deficiencies ), or the higher optimal or therapeutic doses (which will ensure good health)? Are you taking the correct one for your stage in life? Our needs change as we grow older, perhaps moving through pregnancy, menopause or high stress periods.
Most people’s next choice would be the Omega -fats.Here you need to make sure that you’re getting the right balance between the 3,6, and 9. Most of us get enough 6 in our diet, and need to supplement with 3. Omega3 is important for general health, heart and cardiovascular health, cognitive functions and eye health. But now, what is the source of your Omega3 supplement? If it comes from farmed fish, it could have a lower concentrate. Has it been filtered to remove toxins? Does it contain both EPA and DHA types? Vegetarians can supplement with flaxseed oil.
Next on most people’s list is probably a weight control formula. CLA is a pretty popular choice, and most supplement houses will have this in their range. CLA is an Omega6 fatty acid. It is a safe fat burner and contains no stimulants. It helps the body to use fat stores for energy and is therefore best used with exercise. Also popular is HCA ( hydroxycitric acid). HCA appears to promote fat loss and helps control appetite. Some supplement houses package pure HCA, some add Chromium and still others also add metabolism boosters or stimulants such as caffeine to their formula. These can make you feel anxious and jittery, so read the label.
Need a good night’s sleep? There’s plenty to choose from, but don’t take these sleeping aids lightly just because they’re natural or herbal. Sleeping aids are best always discussed with your GP, as they can interfere with other medication, and although mostly non-addictive, they may cause unpleasant side effects. These formula often contain Valerian and Passion flower to relax and calm, or perhaps an anti-anxiety product like Theanine. Melatonin has been popular in recent years but it’s recommended to speak to your GP about this.
Now lets look at a few you might not have heard of!
Olive Leaf Extract? Yes, indeed. Not just good for Dolmades, olive leaves contain a wonderful antioxidant called oleuropein.
Cherry extract: a natural anti-inflammatory, if used regularly, can help prevent the formation of uric acid.
Quercetin: supports the immune system and can bring relief during seasonal allergy time.
Grape seed extract: potent anti-oxidant and a popular ingredient in most anti-aging formulas.
Adaptogens are plant extracts that help the body cope with the physical effects of stress and will therefore help with stress coping ability.
Co-enzyme Q10 is an anti-oxidant strongly linked to preventing heart damage and can be taken by people using cholesterol lowering medications to help prevent heart muscle damage.
Curcumin is found in turmeric (yes, the yellow curry spice!) and is helpful in reducing inflammation. Don’t worry, you won’t turn yellow!
Once more, please remember to discuss any supplements you might be thinking of taking with your healthcare provider. This article is intended for information only. Always discuss with your doctor before starting or stopping any medication or supplementation.