Three clients this week asked me, “How long should I take this supplement, Nora?”
It's a totally valid question. Should we take supplements?? How long should we take supplements? Do they really work? And do we really absorb them, or as many people say, just pee them out??
Supplements fix gaps. We need them to heal the gaps in our nutrition.
But quality supplements can be expensive. Here's a list of the most popular ones I see and hear about on social media and around town:
Collagen powder: $25/month
MCT oil: $30/month
Vitamin D: $10/month
Quality Fish Oils: $35/month
Calcium chews: $20/month
CBD oil: $75/month
All together, that’s about the average American spends per month on a car payment ($195/ month)! The supplement industry is a $128 billion dollar a year. American spend about $30 billions of it in the name of
In order to buy smart, you need to know WHY you are taking supplements. Most of the time, people are taking too many supplements they don't understand or are not taking quality ones. You should NEVER take a vitamin simply because someone else feels amazing on it.
Each person, each gut, each microbiome is utterly unique: so should your supplement routine.
First: use a quality supplement to fill your nutrition gaps, but don’t keep digging a bigger hole by eating a low nutrient diet.
If you are eating healthy and you still have a deficiency, you’re probably not absorbing well. You need to check your overall gut health and learn why it’s happening.
If you're not sure if your diet is high enough in key nutrients or you are regularly having digestion issues, schedule a free 20 minute call with me to get a quick analysis.
Let’s use Omega-3’s as a quick example of how to fill a nutrient gap. This vitamin is widely available and research shows that most people benefits from omega-3 fatty acids.
So should we take them for the rest of our lives??
What people don't realize is that maybe they should be getting omega-3's from OTHER unsaturated fat sources MORE than from just a fish oil pill. Here are some food-based options first:
- extra virgin olive oil —> high antioxidant mono-unsaturated fat.
- organic grass-fed ground beef —> athletes
- flaxseed oil —> women's health
- wild canned salmon —> heart health
- edamame —> vegetarians
While I could get into all the specifics of EPA, DHA vs ALA, the main takeaway is to know WHY you are taking your supplement and HOW LONG you need to take it to fix the gap.
First fill your diet with quality nutrient-dense foods so you don't keep digging a deeper nutrient gap.
Next, meet with a dietitian to determine why you are taking supplements if you don't understand how to balance them or how long you should take them.
Lastly, ask yourself if you are taking quality supplements. For a list of my recommended supplements, look at my recommended supplements.
Here's what I take and why:
Collagen - (gut healthy for IBS and strong hair and nails) source of protein
Juice Plus - (MThFR which causes folate deficiency) a high antioxidant whole food based supplement, which I have taken for over 15 years and love it. As soon as I stop taking it, I have so much muscle soreness and afternoon fatigue; it is also high antioxidant which I believe is important to reduce risk of cancer, which runs strongly on my paternal side. I take this every day because I can't change my genetics.
Vit D/Calcium/Magnesium Combo — I take this only in the winter months since I test low.
Flaxseed oil — to balance hormones, for omega-3 to protect my heart. I take this around my period.
Kavinace— neuroscience focused L-theanine, HTP, GABA supplement for insomnia. I only take this if I have problems with sleeping.
The most important thing to understand about supplements is to understand WHY you are taking them. Next, to use the supplements to fix any gaps while you get your nutrient levels up AND improve your diet focus. Lastly, to make sure you use quality supplements. You don't want to waste money on low quality ones that you'll have to take longer to fix the problem.
Do you have questions about your supplement routine? I’d be happy to do a quick supplement review. Schedule a free 20 minute consult here.