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We’re not big into supplements beyond your everyday multivitamin, but over the past few years I’ve definitely added more to my daily regimen. Each day I take a vitamin D, prenatal vitamin, fish oil and spirulina supplement. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but I like the peace of mind knowing that my body is getting what it needs every day just in case I don’t eat optimally (and, heck, who eats optimally all the time, anywho?). It’s not like I’m taking the type of stuff you’d see recommended in a bodybuilding forum or any weight-loss supplements, rather it’s the stuff that has good research behind it.
If you’re looking to add some supplements to your diet—or you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should—we’ve put a list together of a few of the pros and cons of using supplements that you should consider!
Pros of Using Supplements
1. Added nutrition. Whether it’s needing extra calcium, iron, vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids in your diet (just a few things many women are low in), supplementation can be an easy way to bump up your vitamin intake.
2. Some research backs up supplementation usage. While there is a lot of conflicting research in this area, there are studies that support the use of supplements, and most nutritionists and doctors do recommend at least a multivitamin.
3. Healthy eating insurance. Like I said earlier, no one eats a perfectly healthy diet all the time (and it’s not like nutrition experts can even agree on what that might be!), so supplements like a multivitamin can be a great way to make sure you’re getting the essential amounts of vitamins and minerals—no matter how good or not-so-good your diet is.
1. They’re not regulated. Supplements are not regulated like medicine is, so the FDA does not have to approve them before they hit the shelves. While the government can—and has—removed supplements for being unsafe, that’s generally after they’ve already been on the market. Pretty scary if you think about it!
2. They can be expensive. You just have to take a walk down the supplement aisle in any store to see that supplements aren’t cheap. In varying doses, you can easily pay upwards of $1 a pill, depending on what you’re buying. And many times, the more quality supplements are the most expensive.
3. Supplements aren’t whole foods. There’s so much that we don’t know about food and nutrition—it’s a complex area of study! Many times researchers will think one specific vitamin or mineral boosts health, when really it’s when it’s combined with something else in the food (or lots of other things) that makes it really beneficial. Bottom line, it’s hard to beat Mother Nature at her own game!
Our top recommendation? If you do decide to take supplements, talk to your doctor about it first (to make sure it doesn’t interact with anything else and is right for you) and always buy from a trusted, quality manufacturer. Also, don’t use supplements as an excuse to eat poorly—fresh, whole foods are always best!
Do you take supplements? What kinds? Do they freak you out? Tell us! —Jenn