The use of supplements is a topic that draws on a wide variety of opinions that diverge more than they agree.
For the most part I’m a centrist and take the middle ground. However, even though I own a supplement company I firmly believe there’s a line which a few people cross. And to be honest, a few of them buy from me. But that’s another story……
The best use of supplements is a personalized thing, but in general if the following five dilemmas describe you then you need to cut back.
You Can’t Name Every One You’re Taking
Some people fill up on supplements the way old folks do with meds. They have stacks of pills and powders they take mindlessly each morning. Mindlessly taking supplements is probably just as bad as mindless eating, albeit with different consequences.
If you can’t quickly name each supplement you take each morning, then you’re probably taking a few too many.
You Take A Supplement, But You Don’t Know It’s Benefit
This is a similar symptom to number one, but with a wrinkle.
Supplement usage should follow the old nursery school adage:
A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.
There should be a well defined, discernible benefit for each supplement you buy.
Possible reasons could be the following:
“I have a busy life and don’t always find the time to eat my greens”
“I’m pregnant and my doctor is worried about my folate levels”
“I have unusually low iron levels”
“I’m looking to spruce up my smoothies, etc”
But if you’re staring at the bottle in your hand and aren’t immediately clear why you’re taking something, then you can probably do without it.
Your Supplement Money Is Preventing You From Spending Money Elsewhere
There are a lot of cost effective ways to improve your health, and relative to other things spending money on supplements can quickly have diminishing returns for some.
A new pair of sneakers, a pilates class, or regular medical checkups are all likely to have a higher ROI on your health than spending more money on yet another supplement.
You Use Them As A Replacement For Food
I think taking supplements is generally a good idea. I take them, and I own a company that sells them.
However, the saying “plants not pills” is a good heuristic to stick by. Nutrients are best gotten from food for a variety of reasons.
The concepts of Meal replacement powders is a flawed one, and someone who begins to replace meals with powders and pills should re-consider their eating strategy. This is true no matter the reason you’re doing this, save for a medical condition that prevents you from eating regularly.
And if you’re doing this to lose weight, definitely don’t do this.
Your Supplement Bill Is Bigger Than Your Grocery Bill
The amount of money some people can spend on supplements is mind boggling. (And remember, this is someone who owns a health supplement company!)
On a monthly basis I run into people who rattle off a big grocery list of supplements they take each month and it always leaves me wondering one question:
how the hell do you have money leftover to buy food?
Some people just lack perspective.
I’ve noted before that there are a few good supplements you ought to take.
It might be a good idea to take some extras, but it’s only a good idea after you’ve mastered the all important art of meal planning and becoming a short order cook.
If you’ve come full circle and you still feel like you have something missing, then buy more supplements…..but not before.