Should You Take Supplements?
If you NEED to take supplements because you have been advised to or you have done some research and feel that you have benefitted from taking a supplement or two, there is potentially lifestyle imbalances that are promoting that.
Firstly, I’m not either for or against supplementation but I don’t think you should take supplements blindly because, well, you’ve heard it’s good to take magnesium, for example.
Taking too much of a vitamin or mineral can sometimes do as much damage as being deficient in the same mineral.
It is less common to be over-supplementing than to be deficient in something, but it does happen.
So do you actually need supplements?
The first question you need to ask yourself is: for what reason do I believe I need a supplement?
You might say I’m feeling lethargic most of the time and I’ve heard iron is important.
That is a very fair statement and could be true, but we also need to consider the lifestyle that was driving that potential deficiency, as let’s face it we’re not born iron deficient.
Here is where I would look:
What blocks iron that I’m already taking onboard in my diet from being absorbed? – The important factor to consider is inflammatory conditions of the intestines. Leaky gut syndrome, which is where the small intestine allows partially digested food to escape into the blood stream, could be at the root of malabsorption of iron. It could also being causing you to feel more tired than you should be as an issue in its own right. Simply, the immune system is having to work excessively hard to deal with the foods “leaking” into the blood as well as all the maintenance functions it provides. How would you feel working 50% more in your week for example?
Where might I not be getting enough iron? – Assuming the gut is healthy and you are digesting foods optimally then looking at dietary intake is the next factor to consider. Iron is highest in animal proteins particularly red meat and organ meats such as liver. Getting these foods from grass-fed, organic sources would also be essential to give yourself the best chance of absorbing the right amounts for optimal health and wellbeing.
What other lifestyle factors do I need to consider in rebooting my energy? – If you are not getting quality sleep, have a negative disposition and are generally unhappy with your current life and lifestyle, have a high stress job or money worries, don’t take the appropriate amount and type of exercise or perhaps don’t hydrate properly then you are leaving your body susceptible to problems.
If you are experiencing low levels of iron then taking a supplement while you address the driving factors that lead to it in the first place is the most sensible thing to do.
If you rely on supplementing instead of changing your lifestyle, I believe this to be the root cause of ill health and disease.
Why? Because this is a disempowering mentality that leads to the need for more and more supplements to “cure” the imbalances that are brought about by a lifestyle that contradicts your genetic needs.
So in summary, supplements used in the right way can be a great tool to help you achieve optimal health and well-being and rebalance an issue you have developed. However, used as a crutch to compensate for a lifestyle that is not congruent with your needs is likely to lead to further ill health and unhappiness down the road.