Dietary supplements are all the current rage. A survey conducted by Mintel showed that supplements raked in £421million in 2016 and that nearly 50% of Britons are taking daily supplements.

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

With this in mind, we’ve called upon Jenna Hope, a nutritionist and ambassador for Link Nutrition to tell us everything we need to know about supplements:

1. Supplements are there to supplement your diet not replace it

A healthy balanced diet should be the basis of your nutritional intake yet there are reasons why taking supplements can benefit your dietary intake. These include: helping manage symptoms of a health condition, supporting your exercise regime, optimising nutrient intakes, supporting absorption in older adults and those with digestive issues and supplementing dietary choices (e.g. veganism).

2. Check the quality of your supplements

Unfortunately, the supplement industry is unregulated. This means that supplement companies can fill their products with additives, binders and fillers to provide extra bulk. To gain the most from your nutrients, look for high-quality supplements without these additives. Food Based™ supplements are a great alternative option, as the nutrients are maintained within their matrix of co-factors meaning the supplements are better absorbed and utilised by your body. My favourite supplement brand, Link Nutrition, offers Food Based™ supplements with no fillers, binders or synthetic ingredients, instead making their capsules from plant cellulose instead.

3. Always know why

It is essential that you know why you are taking supplements. After all, if there isn’t a specific reason to why you are taking the supplements, you won’t be able to assess the changes to your health and ultimately you won’t see the benefits of the supplements. For example, if you’re proactively trying to protect your joints from strenuous exercise, or if you’re seeking relief from aches and pains developed over the years, Link Nutrition’s Joint Support complex can help.

4. Consult a health care professional if you’re taking medication

Some supplements can interact with medications so it’s essential that you consult a health care professional before embarking on a supplement plan. Examples of nutrient interactions include: Vitamin E’s interaction with drugs such as aspirin, warfarin and tamoxifen which can cause adverse effects and high-doses of Vitamin C can alter the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives.

5. More is not always better

High doses of specific nutrients (particularly fat-soluble vitamins) can cause toxicity. Symptoms can include; dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and dry skin - and so, you should be cautious of supplements which contain more than two times the recommended nutrient intake. Link Nutrition’s supplements contain glycoproteins, enzymes and phytonutrients which means that you don’t need mega doses to see effects.

6. Some nutrients can be difficult to obtain from the diet alone

This could be due to the limited number of food sources. E.g. dietary sources of Vitamin D are limited and so most of the population should supplement during the winter months and spend more of the summer months absorbing it from the sun where possible. Omega-3 and Vitamin B12 (required for brain functioning and energy respectively) can also pose difficulties for vegetarians and vegan.

7. Be aware of extreme claims

As the industry is unregulated it’s easy for companies to make big health claims. Supplements which claim to ‘help you shed weight, suppress your appetite or revolutionise your health overnight’ are most likely too good to be true and can often cause more harm than good.

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