Vitamins and minerals are essential for the normal growth and functioning of the body, however in today’s age many of us face deficiencies even whilst consuming a healthy diet. One factor that is largely responsible for this is the quality of our depleted soil in which our food is grown, lacking the micronutrients our bodies need. The stress induced by our fast-paced lives and the chemicals we are continuously exposed to in our environments are also huge players contributing to our vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Supplementation is a great way to help your body fill in the gaps of nutritional deficiency, allowing your body to reach optimal nutritional needs to live your healthiest life. Just like we care about the quality of our food, it’s important that we also consider the quality of our supplements.
So, is it as easy as walking into your local store and picking the shiniest, most appealing bottle off the shelf? Are all supplements created equal?
All supplements vary in quality, with their major differences coming from their manufacturing process, ingredients and strength.
The source of the ingredients itself is crucial in determining their overall quality, does the supplement contain nutrients derived from wholefoods? Wholefood supplements contain some vitamins and minerals in wholefood forms. These are more bioavailable to the human body, in other words; making it easier for your body to absorb, metabolise and digest, just like when you’re eating real food.*
Secondly, it’s important to identify if the supplements you take are non-GMO. The phrase ‘non-GMO’ is a term to look out for on the front of your labels, this ensures the ingredients are not derived from genetically modified organisms, ensuring we are not exposing ourselves to unnecessary toxins and chemicals.
Strength of the supplement is another important factor to consider. We want to make sure what we are taking is strong to induce a therapeutic benefit. A great website to look at if you are unsure of your daily needs is the Australian Nutritional Reference Value Guidelines, to understand what the recommended daily intakes are of each vitamin and mineral.
When looking at ingredients, there are a few things to look out for. Does the product include artificial colours, flavours or additives? These can be sneakily added in, loading our body up with unnecessary chemicals, add that to the list to avoid! Another caveat to be mindful of is if you have any dietary sensitivities, allergies or strict dietary choices, so check if the product contains any allergens that you may not tolerate..
So, what next? Empower yourself to be an informed consumer, begin by understanding your individual needs, read the labels of the bottles and remember, supplements are there to ‘supplement’, not to replace a healthy diet.
* It’s important to note when assisting with chronic illness there is a place for synthetic supplementation.
Julia Tellidis is a Nutritionist and Ambassador for Whole Earth & Sea ®