Supplements. What once was counterculture is now mainstream and can be so very confusing! While overall I think this is a good thing, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do your research – there are many new and young companies jumping on the supplement bandwagon so it’s easy to be fooled (pretty bottles DO NOT equal best products). Make sure your product is tested by a third party, and know what they should include and what they shouldn’t as part of a thorough assessment. If you’re confused by the research, meet with a professional who can discuss the science behind the benefits of specific supplements and why they might or might not be right for you. This is why I love shopping in smaller health food stores for new products. Their staff knows what they are talking about.
Get nutrients from food first – as a Dietitian, I always recommend getting most of your nutrients from food first and then using supplements as a safety net. Of course, there are nutrients that we can’t always meet through food (i.e. vitamin D, B12 for some), and that’s usually when I’ll recommend a specific item. I find people purchase supplements in the moment and without knowing why they need them, and then they simply end up collecting dust in a cabinet somewhere.
Watch out for marketing – it’s so easy to buy a product because of trends, labels, statements or pretty packaging but do your research first! One of the most popular misuses of supplements occurs when taken for weight-loss. There are no magic pills or silver bullets here. I’ll say this over and over again unless you change your lifestyle, they won’t do the trick. A pill can not cancel out a burger. Only buy products that you’ve deeply researched, or again, meet with a professional to discuss your health goals.