Vitamin Cocktail- How to choose your supplement routine
Vitamin Cocktail - How to choose your supplement routine
In a meeting around ten years ago, one of my favorite marketers in the VMS (Vitamin, Mineral, and Supplement) space referred to the vitamin and supplement aisle as alphabet soup. The FDA estimated in 2000 that there were 29,000 different supplements available, with 1,000 new ones launched every year (Dietary Supplements: A Framework for Evaluating Safety)! When you walk through a store or peruse online sites - there are thousands upon thousands of different supplements out there to choose from, and it can feel impossible to figure out which are suitable for you.
A couple of months ago, we posted our blog around the importance of having a daily vitamin routine. In that post, we talked about the two main types of supplements: condition-specific supplements and dietary supplements to supplement the intake of key micro and macronutrients (Virtue Blog). When figuring out what supplements to add to your regimen, it's important to think about it in the same way.
Picking the right condition-specific supplements
If you're like us at Virtue, you've already started looking into how supplements can help you address some of the issues you deal with in your daily life. For example, our Anxiety + Stress Relief formula is formulated to provide natural stress relief. We have also taken supplements with Reducol from Ashland to help support improved heart health and healthier cholesterol levels. There has even been significant research from PL Thomas on Phytoceramides and their ability to improve skin hydration and reduce wrinkles.
We recommend taking the time to list out what conditions you would like to address with the support of supplements. For example, your list might look something like this:
- Stress Relief
- Improve memory
- Improve my mood
- Healthier skin
- Improve heart health
After creating your list, research clinically-studied ingredients that can help address these conditions and look for supplements that contain these ingredients. For example, after extensive research, we found PharmaGABA and SunTheanine, which both had incredible clinical data supporting their efficacy in naturally reducing stress. Once you have identified those key ingredients, find a supplement with the same dosage level of those ingredients as the studies you identified. Now you can feel confident that you have found a supplement to support each condition on your list.
Picking the right dietary supplements for key nutrients
Finding the right dietary supplements to supplement your intake of key micro and macronutrients can be a little bit more complicated. In a previous blog post, we referenced some excellent research by Oregon State that showed that many Americans aren't getting their necessary vitamins and minerals from their diet alone. Vitamin D was the worst, with nearly 87% of the public not getting enough.
We always recommend going to your doctor and asking to have vitamin and mineral levels tested as part of your regular blood tests. This is the only way to know for sure which ones you're short on and which ones you're good on (or even which you're too high on!)
While you can go back through the "alphabet soup" vitamin aisle and pick up individual supplements for each vitamin and mineral you're short on, that's probably going to be a waste of money. Often a good multivitamin can help supplement almost every micronutrient you need.
While all of that sounds easy enough, there are a few watch-outs we want to make sure you're aware of.
#1 - avoid proprietary blends! You'll see these commonly in condition-specific supplements. A proprietary blend is where a brand will only tell you how much is included in a blend of ingredients but not how much is present in each individual ingredient. This allows brands to offer cheaper formulas by not having enough expensive ingredients but still putting them on the label. As mentioned earlier, you want to make sure you get the right amount of each ingredient at the clinically-studied dosage. Proprietary blends don't allow you to do that.
#2 - watch out for fairy dusting! Like our first watch out, brands will often include great ingredients but not contain enough to align with research. This allows the brand to save money and put the ingredient on the label without getting enough of an ingredient to make a difference.
#3 don't go overboard on the micronutrients! Often brands will add micronutrients to their condition-specific supplements. It's a cheap and easy way to look like there's more going on with the formula. A common issue while taking a multivitamin is potentially going over safe levels by adding another supplement to your diet. We recommend that you only look for condition-specific supplements that include what you need and not a lot of what you don't.
Taking these things into consideration when choosing vitamins and supplements for your diet will allow them to work better, and through that, you'll feel better. Also, following these simple watch-outs can ensure that you create the proper daily regimen that works for your body and its needs. Your body is a vital vessel in this journey of life. We must take care of it to enjoy years to come.