With all the socials promoting various supplement fixes for all the things, it’s important that you know how to sift through all of the BS (and there is a LOT of it). While supplements can play an important role in a comprehensive nutrition strategy, focusing first on nailing the basics (i.e. eating enough & staying hydrated) will go a long way to helping you improve your overall health & athletic performance. Assuming you have a solid nutritional foundation, and you are interested in adding supplements to the mix, here are some tips for identifying & selecting supplements that are efficacious and safe:
Know what problem you are trying to solve: For each supplement you are considering, what is your rationale for investing in it? Will it help you solve a nutrient deficiency or perhaps help you perform better by reducing fatigue? Example: I am taking Supplement X to help boost my energy for longer workouts.
Examine the supplement claims & ingredients: What does the advertising and supplement label say about what the supplement does? Are the ingredients in the supplements aligned with the claims? Example: Supplement X claims to help boost energy & performance & the supplement label includes 200mg of caffeine among a list of other ingredients which is well established in its ability to provide an energy boost. Don’t know what some of the ingredients are, what they do, or if the dose is appropriate? Look them up! A helpful starting point is the Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheets.
Check for evidence the supplement actually works: Now that you know what supplement X claims to do, and that the claim appears to be supported by the primary ingredient(s), confirm the ingredient and/or supplement itself has clinical evidence that it actually works. As noted above, Caffeine is backed by high-quality evidence supporting its role in boosting energy but unfortunately, many supplement ingredients lack clear evidence supporting the manufacturer claims. At Nutrify, we use research-based sites like examine.com to look for clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of a specific ingredient.
Ensure the supplement is 3rd party tested for safety and quality: Now that you are this far into the process & Supplement X looks like a solid, evidence-based option to boost energy, how do you know if the supplement contains what it claims on the label? Moreover, how do you ensure it doesn’t contain banned or toxic ingredients? Unfortunately, many supplements may be mislabeled so it is important to ensure the supplement is 3rd party tested for safety & quality. Look for certification symbols on your supplement labels:
Don’t see these symbols? Check out consumerlab.com to review & select an approved supplement. Also, make sure you buy supplements from a reputable distributor/re-saler to avoid the risk of counterfeit supplements. Seem like a lot of work? It is. But it is more than worth it to make sure what you put in your body works the way it is intended & is of the highest quality.
Inform your pharmacist & physician about any supplements you are taking: Supplements can interact with medical conditions, medications and even foods.
As a client of Nutrify, you can rest easy as any supplements recommended in your comprehensive nutrition assessment have a clear rationale, are science-backed & 3rd party tested for safety & quality. Need help with your nutrition plan & supplement strategy? Reach out today & schedule a complimentary intro call to learn more.