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10 questions to ask before taking a supplement

4 min read

You may have painstakingly researched which supplements could help your particular condition, and feel confident that you have made an informed decision however certain factors could still be stopping you from getting all the benefits you should from those supplements. In fact there are a surprising number of factors you should take into account if you want to make the most of vitamins, minerals and herbs.

At best you could be wasting money by taking an excess of vitamins that your body simply doesn't need. At worst you could be taking supplements that interact with prescription drugs you are taking and cause you harm.

We simply believe you should be getting the most value possible – both in health and monetary terms – from the supplements you buy by making sure they are suitable for you.

Factors you should consider when choosing supplements

Here is an at-a-glance guide to the factors you should consider when choosing supplements. If you are unsure about implications due to your answers to any of these questions please feel free to call our expert team for free and confidential supplement advice on 024 7669 5115.

1. Is it a quality supplement?

There are a surprising number of unscrupulous businesses around selling poor quality vitamins. To be assured of good quality make sure the company has a Good Manufacturing Practice certificate which ensures its products are consistently produced in accordance to strict quality standards. Most companies will make a statement about this on their website.

A good quality supplement company will also provide details of 100 per cent of the ingredients in its product on its label. Avoid those that don’t provide this.

Getting the right strength, or potency, is another fundamental consideration. Avoid supplements which only offer 10 to 30 per cent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of the vitamin or mineral in question – they will be too weak to have a good effect.

Make sure the company you are dealing with understands the nutritional research behind the supplements they are selling. You could call the company to check this. It’s important that dosages, in particular, are backed by valid scientific rationale.

2. How old am I?

Age can play a surprisingly important role in deciding which vitamins you should be taking. Teenagers, for example, often need more vitamin C and D because of their active lifestyles, young children need more calcium and magnesium for growth and older people need more antioxidants to help combat the ageing process. A reputable vitamin company should be able to give you advice about which vitamins are most suitable for your age.

3. How healthy is my digestive system?

The health of your digestive system will affect how well the supplements you take are absorbed. If you suffer from conditions such as IBS, or Crohn’s Disease or have a sensitive stomach it’s best to seek advice before you buy supplements so that they can be tailored to suit your digestive system.

4. How is my general health?

Conditions such as high blood pressure, liver and kidney problems can also be very important considerations when choosing a supplement as you may need to avoid certain vitamins or minerals. 

5. How is my mental health?

Research suggests conditions such as depression and anxiety can be helped by taking B vitamins.

6. What is my weight, height and build?

A slim, petite customer may well need a different product to a taller customer with a large bone structure. 

7. Have I had headaches, constipation or diarrhoea when taking supplements?

Some people are not tolerant to certain vitamins and minerals. If you suffer from headaches, constipation or diarrhoea when starting a new course of supplements, it is worth checking with our team to see if you may be intolerant to a certain vitamin. It could be beneficial to change to a more suitable product.

8. What is my lifestyle like?

The lifestyle you lead could have a drastic effect on the supplement that may be most suitable for you. If you live a hectic lifestyle and are relying on convenient or fast foods you may be missing out on certain nutrients because you are eating an unhealthy diet, for example. Vegetarians can be deficient in magnesium, calcium and B vitamins.

9. What environment am I living in?

If you live in a city or built up area your body may be absorbing pollutants and toxins from the local environment and you may need a supplement with a higher level of antioxidants than someone who lives in a more rural area.

10. How long have I been mistreating my health?

The longer you have been leading an unhealthy lifestyle the longer it will take to restore your well being. Our experts believe for every decade you have mistreated your health, perhaps through smoking, poor diet or alcohol, you will need two years of healthy living to reverse the damage.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.
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