Selecting the Right Supplements

Selecting the Right Supplements

Most Canadians take supplements, but unfortunately, many of those supplements are the wrong choice and do not produce the results patients hoped for. With a little bit of professional guidance, you can take fewer supplements, rotate your protocol seasonally, get better results and ultimately spend less money.

Why supplement in the first place?

Eating well no longer guarantees optimum nutrition because of the declining mineral content in our food. Supplements simply replace these nutrients to make the food whole again. This is especially important in colder seasons when our foods are preserved, frozen or imported. Organic and seasonal produce tends to have the highest nutritional values so supplementing can be reduced during local growing seasons.

You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb. Healthy eating and supplementation will only benefit your health if you digest and absorb the nutrients. Digestion declines with age and is about half as potent by the time we reach middle age. One of the first supplements to consider after age fifty is simply digestive enzymes and probiotics. A good indicator of digestion is to carefully observe your symptoms shortly after meals, and the quality of your stool. Healthy stools should be formed, medium brown, painless, and without visible foods, blood or mucous. They should also not be sticky nor have a particularly high odour.

Medications are another popular reason to take supplements. Many medications deplete zinc, which the liver uses for detoxification. Blood pressure and cholesterol meds can deplete your potassium, calcium, magnesium and CoQ10, leaving you tired. Antibiotics kill bacterial infections while also killing the beneficial intestinal bacteria (probiotics). This can cause digestive upset and allow the yeast to overpopulate in the body. Birth control pills deplete B vitamins and copper which can cause fatigue, PMS and moodiness.  Since supplements may interfere with medications, it’s best to take them at least two hours away from each other.

Nutritional needs may also fluctuate based on our age, activity level or lifestyle. Puberty, pregnancy, menopause and high activity levels can increase the body’s needs for protein, essential fatty acids, zinc, calcium, iron and other minerals. Using saunas, hot yoga, and excessive sweating can cause quick and significant loss of electrolytes which are easily replenished with nutritional sports beverages.

As Canadians, our need for supplements is certainly highest in the winter. We get less sunshine and exercise, and our foods are preserved or imported from countries where it is often picked before it has a chance to ripen. Supplementing with Vit D, oils, greens, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and a multivitamin can help to maintain the same level of health and wellness all year round.

Multivitamin content varies widely among suppliers. Try to find a multi which best suits your age and gender. Our naturopathic practise uses hair mineral analysis, blood work and a nutritional physical exam to determine the individual nutritional needs of patients. Our supplement suggestions are highly individualized and vary based on season and changes in lifestyle or use of medications.

Call to book an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors to discuss your personal supplement selection!

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