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Supplements, What should I Know?

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With the dizzying array of supplements available today, there are things you should know before taking them. The more information you have the better you will be at choosing which ones are best for you. But, what are supplements really? Read on for Supplements what should I know.

In 1994 legislation was passed defining what supplements actually are. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) states as follows, dietary supplements must be ingested through the mouth-whether as a pill, tablet, capsule, soft-gel, chewy gummy, chewable tablet, melt-away, powder, drink or bar. There are a wide range of possible ingredients which are all regulated by the law.

Vitamins and minerals are by far the most well known and popular supplement class. Vitamins are compounds found in nature which the body needs for normal growth and metabolism. These are all the letter vitamins, A, B, C etc. Minerals are elements such as calcium or magnesium which are required for a normally functioning body. These can not be manufactured by our bodies so they must come from foods.

Ingredients from plant leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, or bark are a class of supplements known as botanicals.

Amino Acids are most well known to those who hang out at the gym. As the building blocks of all proteins, there are 20 in the human body. Only 12 of these are manufactured by our body, the other 8 need to be acquired through our diet. Body builders require large amounts of amino acids.

Metabolism at the cellular level and digestive functions are catalyzed by enzymes. They function as the key to unlock essential chemical reactions in the body.

Metabolites, constituents, and extracts: This is a catchall category for supplements synthesized or produced from whole ingredients. These include omega-3s, botanical extracts, and metabolites-something your body produces during normal metabolism but, in a supplement form, may help boost normal function. You see these ingredients a lot in sports nutrition supplements, such as creatine mono-hydrate, a metabolite of the organic acid creatine (prevalent in raw fish and meat) that is used to supply energy to your body’s cells, especially muscles.  Fran Schoenwetter

The question on most people’s mind when beginning a new supplement is, how long should I take it before deciding if it works or not. The short answer is that it depends on what you expect the outcome to be. As an example, glucosamine and chondroitin take about 6 to 8 weeks before you would notice results. Melatonin on the other hand can work in the first day to the first few days. With our hair skin nails formula we recommend 90 days to see results.

Do I need to take my supplements every day? As a general rule, maintenance supplements like multivitamins, calcium, or ginseng should be taken daily. Any supplement used for long-term therapeutic effects should be taken every day. Some supplements such as sleeping aids, or stress relief aids can be taken on an as needed basis. Water soluble nutrients like vitamin C are used by the body and then expelled in the same day. Fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin A are stored in the liver for weeks and then distributed to the cells as needed.

Will my health suffer if I don’t take supplements? There is much more to living in a state of vitality than just not being sick. ” It is the goal of optimal health that drives people to take nutritional supplements” say Michael Murray, ND.  There is a wide difference between the minimum amount of a nutrient required so you don’t get sick and the maximum amount you might want to take in order to function at your peak vitality, energy and enthusiasm for living.

There are several more questions I would like to address but will continue this discussion in next week’s post.

Thanks for reading!

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