With so many different supplements out there, are you confused about the type of supplements that might benefit you? Or maybe you’re not sure whether you actually need to take supplements at all?
Even with a healthy diet, you may still need a little extra help with some parts of your nutrition. We’ve written this blog post to help you get some clarity!
What are supplements?
In a nutshell, supplements can provide your body with nutrients that you’re not getting through your diet. A balanced diet is always the best way to gain nutrition but sometimes, it may not be enough by itself.
These days, supplements come in so many forms, including tablets, powders, gummies and liquids. Generally, they’ll be substituting something that your body needs to function at its best. This may be vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids or herbs, or a combination of these.
Who needs supplements?
If you fall into one of these categories, you may want to think about supplementing:
You’re not eating across all food groups, which can happen if you have a food intolerance/allergy or you’re vegan or vegetarian.
As we get older, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing some nutrients, especially vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Supplementing may be needed to avoid deficiency.
You have health conditions such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, autoimmune disease or liver disease that can affect the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
You take medication that could affect nutrient absorption, including oral contraceptives, statins, antacids and antibiotics.
Chronic stress can deplete key nutrients, including B vitamins and magnesium, which can lead to deficiencies.
If you need to fill in gaps in your nutrition, supplements could help.
If you’re not sure whether supplementing is a good idea, talk to your doctor before you go ahead. They can check for deficiencies through blood tests and see if supplements are definitely needed.
What about vegetarians and vegans?
If you don’t eat meat or fish, you’ll need to make sure your diet contains other key sources of iron, zinc and vitamin B12. These can be harder to include in a vegetarian diet but you can get them through pulses, dark green vegetables, eggs and dried fruit.
If you’re vegan, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough B12.
Calcium can be another issue for vegans but you can get it from some surprising food sources - including dark green vegetables, pulses, fortified tofu and soya products, sesame seeds and tahini.
If you need a B12 boost, the Better You B12 spray featured in our Summer Glow Collection is a firm favourite with our customers. We’ve had so much love for this product and how easy it makes it to get your B12.
Supplements for pregnancy
If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, you probably already know how important folic acid is. Vitamin D is often recommended during pregnancy too. If you think you need a vitamin D boost (whether you’re pregnant or not!), the Better You Vegan Vitamin D spray from our Retreat Collection is such an easy way to get your levels up.
If you decide to take a multivitamin while you’re pregnant, check if it has vitamin A in it. Getting too much vitamin A can potentially harm an unborn baby so it’s recommended not to supplement with it during pregnancy.
Good health starts in the gut and probiotics can give your gut health a big boost. Probiotic foods can help a lot, but you may choose to take probiotic supplements for an extra helping hand.
We featured the Chris James Mind Body Brilliant Biotic Supplement in our Illuminate Your Glow Collection, which contains a whopping 30 billion microflora from 16 different strains of friendly bacteria.
If sleep isn’t your friend, you may benefit from a bit of help to get your sleep patterns under control. The Lumity Restful Nights Supplements from our Rest and Rejuvenate Collection makes a great short term solution. We love that they also help reduce stress, which is one of the big reasons why sleep can be so evasive.
Tips for choosing supplements
Have a look at the Recommended Daily Amounts (RDAs) of any supplements you take, especially for multivitamins. Some supplements contain a lot more than you need each day and that’s not always a good thing. While water-soluble vitamins can be excreted from the body if you have too much, fat-soluble vitamins can build up in the liver and have the potential to cause problems. If you’re getting a wide range of nutrients from your diet, supplements could take you over the RDA.
If you’re already getting adequate amounts of B vitamins and vitamin C from your diet, any extra you get from supplements will be flushed out when you urinate.
Supplements can vary in quality. We definitely advise shopping around and finding a high-quality, reputable brand you can trust. Cheap supplements can often be loaded with fillers, bulking agents, carmines, binders, additives and other nasties.
We always recommend choosing natural, “food-based” supplements when you can as lab-derived supplements aren’t generally absorbed as well. According to this study, vitamin E is absorbed twice as well when it’s consumed through food compared to supplements, for example.
When you eat whole foods, you’re not just consuming a single nutrient at a time. You’re getting a range of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which your body will then use as needed. Your body won’t use supplements in the same way because of this difference.
Discover exclusive supplements every other month
Our themed collections of handpicked natural health, beauty and wellness treats are an easy way to enhance your self-care routine. They’re perfect for nourishing your body from the inside out. Any supplements that we include in our boxes are handpicked by us and checked for any nasties, and we always make sure the supplements we include are suitable for vegans. Each collection we release has a theme, so the supplements we include are all for different wellness goals.
Our collections are always very popular and we recommend subscribing so you don’t miss out. You can buy bi-monthly, six-monthly and twelve-monthly subscriptions or a one-off box. And when we’re able to offer more of some of our past collections, they will be available to purchase while stocks last.