better supplements: Navigating the world of supplements and which approach is better for your body and goals.
We have been told a million times by myriad health teachers, fitness coaches and TV ads that nutrient dense diets including a variety of fruits and veggies are the key to a well balanced and healthy lifestyle. Needless to say, for most, the ideal plate of a lean protein, something whole grain and the obligatory colorful vegetable variety is not always possible. Enter supplements! But which ones are right for you?
There are so many nutrition, vitamin and supplement producers in the market that it feels daunting to make the right choice. Walking down the “health” aisle can spark immediate decision paralysis and lead one to give up the entire plan to achieve their wellness goals, which nobody really wants. We feel your pain. But, no matter what nutritional, fitness or overall health goals you are trying to tackle; having a few things in mind can help you make the best decision possible before taking the plunge with a new health product.
If you think your diet is not making the cut for your daily nutrient needs, we are here to help! Here are a few things to help you separate the diamonds from the rough if you will:
Absorption rate...not all supplement forms are equal:
There are so many different avenues to take when you are trying to choose a health supplement: capsules, tablets, gummies, powders and liquid tinctures-- OH MY! These are all among the most popularly used forms of supplements out there. The truth is that the form can have an impact on how effective your supplement will be. One of the main factors to note is what the absorption rate of each supplement form is. What does this even mean? Sometimes referred to as bioavailability; it basically measures how fast and how much of the desired vitamin or mineral is actually getting into your system. Just swallowing a capsule does not always guarantee that you will receive the optimal benefits that you aim for. For some supplements, capsules and tablets are not ideal in the absorption rate department. Setting aside the issue of being hard to swallow or possibly having a gelatin casing (YUCK!); these forms can either pass through your body without any absorption at all or absorb solely in one small area causing possible stomach discomfort.
Whenever possible, it is best to simply go directly for that nutritional gold and get your supplements in a powder or liquid form. Studies have shown that liquid supplements have a 95%+ absorption rate while pills can have lower than 20% absorption rates. Even worse, pills can sit on the lining of your stomach or GI tract and cause irritation due to the abnormally high concentration in one very small area of the cell membranes. Using a powder or liquid form can ensure that you won’t suffer this irritation and you will receive the benefit of the high bioavailability that can’t be achieved with pills or capsules.
Trustworthy and Authentic ... do your research.
Check up on the company you are planning to go with and see if they are as transparent and trustworthy as you would like. The terms "sketchy" and "supplements" do not make a good match. Does the company offer info about their sourcing, production and values? Do they hold the same values as you? Consider how the brand aligns with your lifestyle and views. Are they plant based, sustainability focused or maybe earth friendly? If they are well established and display certifications of approval such as; USDA Organic, Non- GMO Certified and Certified B Corp then that may help you decide if you want to support them.
Bonus Points… extra credit where it’s due:
Supplements are not regulated very strictly by the FDA so some argue that meeting their GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standard doesn’t really say too much. Many companies will go above and beyond to prove that their products are on the level. If the supplement is well established and has verification from USP or NSF then you can rest assured that what's in the bottle is what is stated on the label. Not all companies are able to afford this third-party testing though so be sure to consider all factors in your decision. If they are transparent and withhold the values you hold for yourself, then you may feel more comfortable with supporting them.
The control, ease and bioavailability of supplements in powder or liquid form have boosted these forms above capsules, pills and even gummies in many ways. Fulfilling your daily nutrient needs with a flavorful smoothie or by adding a few drops of a liquid boost into your morning tea feels so much more like a sustainable self care practice than the other options out there.
*It is always a smart move to consult a medical professional before beginning any new health regime. Always do the research and make the best educated choice possible with a professional opinion in mind. FEEL BETTER <3