Supplements tend to get quite a lot of stick. Some of it warranted. But supplements can be really helpful in maintaining a healthy, functioning body. Lets try and simplify their use and see whether supplementation is something that you need to consider.
So what are they?
Supplements are products that you take that are intended to add further nutritional value to your existing diet or lifestyle. They are there to provide you with nutrients that may otherwise be lacking or, at least, not consumed in adequate quantity.
Supplements are exactly that. They are there to SUPPLEMENT a healthy and balanced diet. Before you think about consuming a health or nutritional supplement, you firstly need to ask yourself: do I really need to be taking this?
Here are a couple of examples:
Vitamin D, produced from exposure to sunlight, is a common vitamin that people lack. If you live in a sunny area of Australia and spend a lot of time in sun, you most likely don’t need to supplement with this product. If you live in Edinburgh, things may be slightly different. As much as we love our Scottish city, sunlight isn’t in abundance. So, supplementation with Vitamin D3 is something you may wish to think about.
Then there is whey protein. One of the most popular sport supplements around. There is a lot of money to be made by companies selling it. But are they needed? Firstly, you need to establish what your fitness goals are. Then establish how much protein you should be consuming to achieve these goals. Can you consume this amount of protein through regular diet alone? If the answer is ‘no’, then a protein supplement is something you might like to consider.
It is commonplace for someone who begins his or her fitness journey to be swayed by marketing. Sadly, it is sometimes the individuals that people look up to for inspiration that worsen this problem. It can be personal trainers or nutritionists looking to sell products for a bit of extra cash. This can be whether the client requires them or not.
*Sidenote* - If you are one of these trainers or supplement pushers: stop it. What you are doing is wrong and helping no one but yourself.
If you are thinking of supplementation, then really think about why you need each and every product. If you are obtaining enough of the desired nutrient within your diet or through other lifestyle choices, then supplements can be really handy. If you feel that a supplement would help you to achieve your goals or help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, then go for it. But please do your research and ask the advice of a professional for extra guidance.