I have always loathed taking vitamins and nutritional supplements but since becoming vegan I learnt that vitamins can make a big difference to achieving optimal health. The real clincher is that it doesn’t matter what kind of diet you follow, chances are you are lacking some key nutrients.
I am still educating myself on the world of nutrition but I wanted to share some of the important things I have found out about vitamins and supplements. I asked Warren Maginn, Functional and Nutritional Medicine Practitioner and Educator, to spill the 5 most important things we all need to know.
1. They provide the nutrients we cannot get from food alone
Just eating a healthy diet is sometimes not sufficient for us to acquire adequate amounts of the nutrients our bodies need for good health.
As we age, our bodies produce less of the enzymes we need to properly digest and assimilate the foods we eat. Stress – an all-too-common reality in this day and age – can also negatively impact the immune system. Taking relevant supplements to improve the body’s digestion can maximise the nutrition we get from our diet. From there, relaxation, rest and supplementation can also help give your body the further support and nutrition it needs.
2. With the weight loss ‘trend’ we may be also losing important Vitamins and Minerals
I’m sure you are all well aware of the new ‘trend’ to be fit, detoxed, and losing weight. Whilst pursuing healthy living is a great thing, it is important to see your nutritionist before starting any diet that may affect your health. For example, simply cutting calories can often also directly cut the key nutrients your body needs for health. Taking supplements can help replenish any vitamins or minerals that you may be cutting out of your diet.
3. Boosting our dietary intake of essential nutrients with supplements can have a positive impact on every part of the body
Supplements offer us an array of internal and external benefits that are often not supplied by our Western diets. For example, fish oil supplements can reduce inflammation that is directly associated with back and neck pain, joint mobility and flexibility. Supplements such as Vitamin A and D may boost the immune system, and also support the integrity of blood vessels.
What we eat and drink can positively or negatively affect the appearance of our skin. Supplements such as Vitamin C can improve the health of our skin by helping to boost collagen and elastin. Fish oil supplements can also give skin a boost, helping to hydrate, reduce inflammation and restore a healthy glow.
4. Not all supplements are made the same
With so many supplements on the market, it is hard to know which one is a good choice for you. When searching for a supplement, look for robust scientific studies that provide evidence to support the efficacy and quality of those supplements.
Find a reputable company that is well known and that makes information about their company easily accessible. Alongside research about the company, the safest way to determine which supplement is right for you is to book an appointment with your nutritionist – to discuss whether or not the supplement you’re considering is tailored to your needs.
Are multivitamins enough?
Taking multivitamins may give you some of the basic vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from your diet. However, many have the misconception that a multivitamin will fulfil all your nutritional needs. Because everyone has different dietary needs, a multivitamin may not give you all the nutrients you may be lacking. You might also need to consider omega-3 essential fatty acids, a good probiotic, or antioxidant support. In fact, taking the wrong supplements for you, can sometimes create more problems than it solves. For this reason, it is best to see a professional to tailor the correct supplement regimen to suit your specific health and lifestyle needs.
5. The best supplements are earth-friendly as well as you-friendly
The manufacturing process can directly affect a supplement’s safety and ability to do its job. There are two things you should opt for: purity and sustainability.
Companies that ensure the purity of their products will eliminate any potential nasties that may affect your body. Sustainability is also important to ensure that the manufacturing process minimises impact on the environment and the long term supply of that essential resource.
Ensure that the ingredients in the supplement are purified of heavy metals and other toxins. All quality manufacturers should employ techniques to ensure the purity levels of the supplement. The best companies will provide independent test results for their products.
Supplements need to be sustainable in the way they are produced. For instance, fish oil brands need to follow safe fishing practices to avoid over-fishing. Whatever the supplement, it’s best for you and for the earth if businesses keep sustainability in mind with regard to their manufacturing practices.
About Warren Maginn
Warren is a Clinical Nutritionist who specialises in the treatment of chronic immune disorders, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances through the principles of Functional & Integrative Medicine. Warren holds a bachelor degree in Nutritional Medicine and a graduate certificate in Human Nutrition from Deakin University. Warren lectures students of Nutritional Medicine in Brisbane Australia and is the National Technical Educator for Research Nutrition (an Australian based Functional Medicine advisory), supporting naturopathic and medical practitioners in their use of functional pathology testing and associated supplement prescriptions, as the basis to modern integrative health management.
Warren is a spokesperson for Nordic Naturals. Distributing to over 30 countries on 6 continents, Nordic Naturals is the #1 selling fish oil in the United States, offering over 150 products in a variety of flavours, concentrations, and delivery forms. Through science and innovation, Nordic Naturals is committed to delivering the world’s safest, most effective omega oils. They even have a line of specially formulated products for vegans and vegetarians.
Do you take any vitamins or nutritional supplements? Have you learnt something new from this post? Let me know by commenting below!