What aspects can we consider when looking for supplements because we have a deficiency of an element? How to choose supplements that are beneficial for our health, for our wallet, but also for our environment?
First of all, you must be certain that you have a deficiency at all. This might seem to state the obvious, but even though supplements are no medicines, they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
So make sure you base your choice on a medical test or blood analysis.
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How to Choose Supplements?
Our own health always comes first. That means we have to eat healthy and non-toxic food. We cannot be healthy enough if our environment is polluted, so we must also ensure sustainability.
Make your health priority number one
We are getting older than ever. Unfortunately, we also get ill earlier in life. Air pollution, fast food, and a sedentary lifestyle undermine our well-being.
Although it is necessary to visit a GP regularly and do a medical checkup – preferably every year – doctors are more likely to resort to medicines as a solution than to focus on lifestyle. Prevention of illnesses is always better than having to heal them. A healthy lifestyle plays a major role in this.
Moreover, a lot of medication is prescribed for life. I have seen it happening to both my parents. At the end of their lives, medicine was stacked on medicine, more often than not causing all kinds of unwanted side effects.
And we have experienced it ourselves as well. When our cholesterol levels were too high, we were advised to take statins for the rest of our lives. And when Tom had gout he again got the advice to take lifetime medication. Never did we get a bit of advice about food choices and supplements.
Related: Why is Alternative Medicine Good and Bad? (You’re in for Some Surprises)
The environment causes diseases of affluence
Not just physical health is important, but also the health of your environment. You can’t just leave it to governments and certainly not to the big companies to take care of that. We all have a responsibility to care for the world as best we can.
For a couple of years, I live in Spain. And I truly love the people and the landscapes. But what I hate is the carelessness of some people dropping plastic waste no matter where they are.
For quite a while I picked up one piece of plastic on every hike, but at the moment I am reluctant to do that because of possible contamination with the virus.
What this has to do with the choice of supplements?
When I choose a supplement I want a good quality of both the product and the way it is packaged. I know, I make it difficult for myself this way. But it is really important to me.
So these are possible questions we can ask ourselves:
- Is the product and/or the company certified?
- Are the ingredients ecological and from a non-toxic environment?
- Has sufficient research been done into the efficacy?
- Will it be counterproductive to other medications or supplements?
- Is it safe for us even though we have disease X?
- Is the manufacturer making a claim that is too good to be true?
- What is the best form?
- Is the efficacy better if combined with another supplement?
- Is the product as clean as possible, without coloring or artificial flavors?
- How is the packaging?
- Is it tested on animals or on humans?
- Where can we buy it and what is the cost?
A lot of answers to these questions will be on the label. Some will become clear if you visit the website of the manufacturer. And if you can’t find sufficient answers you can always email them. When it’s a renowned company they will answer. And sometimes you won’t know until you buy it.
Have knowledge of your condition
If you have allergies of any kind, it’s always best to start with a small dose to see what the result is. As I have said in another article recommendations are based on averages, which also differ per country. It’s vital to find out what works best for your body.
To give an example: if you take Vitamin C and you get diarrhea you have taken too much. Even when you didn’t take more than the recommended dose.
Do you swallow tablets easily? I thought I did, but I discovered that at some point a tablet can be too big and I almost choke. Yikes. To give an example, I love the Vitamin C of Solgar. It’s a capsule that I can swallow quite easily. Because of COVID-19, more people are taking Vitamin C than ever and Solgar was out of stock everywhere I looked. So I bought a different brand that had tablets. They’re awful, they make me choke every time I take them.
Have knowledge of possible side effects
You might ask why I don’t dissolve those tablets in water? Vitamin C is bad for your teeth because of its acidic nature. You can dissolve it in water, but then you have to make sure to drink it with a (bamboo) straw. Another solution is to break the tablets into powder and eat it with a spoon.
Of course, I don’t want to just throw them away. I can solve the problem for now, but as you can understand I will make a different choice next time Solgar is out of stock.
My personal choice
I mentioned Solgar and have several reasons for choosing that brand.
- I am subscribed to the newsletter of a Dutch alternative doctor and he recommended a couple of high quality brands. Solgar was one of the few on that list that is available in Spain.
- Their vitamins are packed in dark glass. Glass is easily recycled.
- A lot of the products are suitable for vegans. Not that I am a vegan, but I don’t eat meat and this way I am sure the products don’t contain substances I don’t want to eat.
- They are certified and do a lot of quality control.
There is one thing I don’t like about Solgar though:
- The bottles are sealed with plastic. Sometimes it is just a seal around the cap, sometimes it covers the entire bottle. And I understand the food rules are very strict and it’s done for safety and guarantee. But for me a paper seal would be sufficient.
Did I make your choice easier or more complicated?
As much as I can I try to buy at specialized companies. It’s at times difficult to find companies that deliver internationally. I live in Spain and for a while, it has been quite hard to find the right stores and online possibilities. For my online shopping, I prefer for instance eVitamins, because they’re specialized in healthy supplements of ecologically good brands.
I hope I made it easier for you to choose? Please let me know in the comment box and take care.
11 thoughts on “How to Choose Supplements that are Beneficial and Important”
Hello Hannie, I really like your advice and think it has been really helpful with choosing supplements and what I can look for when I see a product I wish to try out. I have taken many supplements for health and weight management over the years and finding combinations that work well together for me. I like the recommendation you give to take it slow and find what works, since every body is so different. I will keep this list of questions to ask myself handy for reference and will check out National Healthy Concepts! I have not heard of them before. Thank you for the great information!
Thanks for your kind words, Tammy! If you know of any combinations that don’t work well, will you let me know? I would appreciate that 🙂
Hi Hannie, you are perfectly right on that score about doctors would rather prescribe a drug rather than get to the bottom of the problem. Costs, time and the fact that they would lose out on commissions if they did their job correctly.
Age is a concern for many because the body just doesn’t work like it used to and can’t produce the correct amounts of vitamins as it did when we were younger.
Mind you, if we all adopted the correct lifestyle from the get-go, then maybe we wouldn’t feel the need to catch up. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing.
I think the last place I would consider for purchasing supplements would be Amazon
Maybe you could check out http://www.healthspan.co.uk who are in Guernsey just around the corner from you. Rave revues and where I purchase from!
Thanks for sharing
Hey Mick, thanks so much for your valued comment. Even now when we know what a healthy lifestyle is, people still feed their kids sugar and dairy. But not needing additional supplements would be the best, I agree. 🙂
And thank you for the tip.
We all need to read this lovely article of yours and remind ourselves that health is the actual wealth. Supplements now days are as important as food! Since food don’t contain many nutrients these day.
Thank you so much!
Marvelous, Rani. Beautifully said: health is the actual wealth. Love that 🙂
Building on our immune system is really important and supplements play a big role in that. It’s not only that we can’t get everything we need out of food because of the way food is grown, but also because some elements are just not or hardly found in food.
And in special times, as we now have with the pandemic, we need additional supplements like vitamin D3, vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin K, iodine, selenium, and magnesium.
Thanks for your reaction and take care.
Love your approach to supplements… especially the limiting ecological footprint aspect, which I had not considered before. In my mid -50s now and I’m more health-conscious now than I have ever been. I’ve been taking a similar “start small” approach with Ashwagandha root. Thanks for posting !
What a pity we take health for granted when we are young, isn’t it. I too am guilty of that of course. 🙂
Hi Hannie, thanks for this great article. I love your detailed approach and that you paid attention to possible allergies and side effect. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Hannie, This is a great post and I think everyone should consider thinking what they put into their bodies. It might be the quality of the product but they will think there’s something wrong with them but there is not. Some brands just take extra care about the quality of their products for the sake of people’s health.
This post has made it clear what to look for before you buy a supplement, to help you and the environment. Thank you
Thanks, Chantelle! 🙂
Often people tell me it’s not important to go the extra mile. They think it’s too expensive or too much fuss. Yet for me, my health is really important. Not only now in the short term, but also in the long term.
I agree with you everyone should have more considerations. Cheap supplements from the supermarket are not made of ecological substances and at times even dangerous because of the artificial additions.
Thanks for your comment and stay healthy.