Simple Habit to Better Health #14 – Choose Supplements Wisely

By October 21, 2013Good Health

In today’s society it appears you can take a supplement for just about anything. Whether it is to prevent an illness or to cure one it is important that we understand when and how we should take supplements to avoid harming our bodies or at the very least spending money unnecessarily.

The general thought that anyone and everyone should take the same supplements is incorrect. There are however a few common deficiencies in the Western World due to our lifestyles and/or the way food is grown. These common deficiencies are:
– Zinc (for stress relief, stomach acid production, and energy)
-Iodine (important for thyroid function)
-Selenium (powerful antioxidant)
-Vitamin D (for strong bones)
-Magnesium (for brain and muscle function)
-Potassium (for heart and muscle function)
-Silica (for strong hair and nails)
-Omega 3 fatty acid (for brain and heart health)

Additionally, the following are potentially helpful in selected populations:
– Iron (in menstruating and pregnant women)
– Vit B6 (in highly sressed individuals, those with PMS/PMT, and in morning sickness sufferers)
– Chromium (in diabetics and pre-diabetics)
– Folate (in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and in those who have a high homocysteine level)

Situations when taking supplements can be potentially harmful:
– Iron (in those who genetically store too much iron)
– Folate (in undermethylating individuals)
– St Johns Wort (in those on the oral contraceptive pill)
– Gingko (those on blood thinners)
– Liquorice (those who have high blood pressure)
– Copper (those who genetically retain copper)
– Calcium (those prone to heart disease)

This list is not exhaustive but shows that instead of a broad approach to taking supplements the better approach would be to see a healthcare practitioner trained in the safe and appropriate prescribing of nutritional supplements. For a list of such individuals check out the ACNEM website