Thoughts on nutritional supplements.
What is a nutritional supplement? Where most people would think them to be some sort of medication, it could be anything really.
- Dried bananas as a potassium supplement.
- Dried grapes (raisins) as an iron supplement.
.. it doesn't have to come in a bottle.
Some benefits of getting pharmacy-trusted supplements:
- They more likely have be a wealth of history and research on the product.
- Perhaps you can only get some complex ingredients or combinations of ingredients through such sources.
- Perhaps you can only find a high concentration this way.
- They are easier to take, or otherwise more convenient, than dietary means.
They are less expensive than dietary means.
Supplementation is important for various special circumstances but also because certain materials or combinations of materials are difficult to attain through diet alone.
Remember: If some material or combination of materials is hard to get from diet alone, they are therefore not essential and you could happily and healthily live forever without intentionally pursuing them.
.. with that in mind, however, there still might be significant benefits with supplements.
Nutritional supplements go above and beyond normal diet and should be considered only useful in unusual circumstances such as an over-strained body or strange dietary requirements. Poor health or exercise are two circumstances in which supplemental additions might prove valuable.
You cannot live on nutritional supplements. They do not replace real food, proper physical activity or a positive attitude.
It is unhealthy to think of a supplement in terms of convenience. If you begin to stray this way, re-examine your diet and daily planning to put real food back into your life. I might make an exception for something like Vitamin C when good organic kiwi are out of season, but you should never let yourself be lazy with supplementation by thinking of it as a replacement for real food.
Some Basic Advice ∞
- Be wary
There is a lot of shit out there. No seriously.. there is stuff out there that is costly and completely worthless to your body. In most circumstances, simply eating right will be of far greater benefit than "purchasing health".
Vitamin C is one example. Yes, really. Not just supplements but the whole mythology of its value for a cold or flu.
- Be smart
Don't take what you don't need. Don't take what you don't know. Listen to your body and learn of the effects first-hand. Try one thing at a time. Take it slow and careful.
- Be consistent
Don't mega-dose and then run dry. Don't tease your body and then leave it longing. If you need a lot, then take gradually increasing doses. Wean yourself off if you're running out of a supplement. Use a supplement as a supplement, don't think that you can somehow get away with not eating right just because you're taking a multivitamin or a fucking diet-shake. Eesh.
- Supplements are not a silver bullet!
If you hear about a particular benefit a supplement has, don't rely only on it. A supplement is just one part of a larger system which, when combined, will promote greater health and well being. Often, proper absorption of a material will absolutely depend on other factors such as the presence of other materials, the time of day, your mood, your regular diet, exercise, and all kinds of other stuff.
- Don't be paranoid
Just because you read something doesn't make it true to you. If you see that one of the symptoms of deficiency in something is something which you have, don't jump to conclusions to assume you're deficient.. except probably in self esteem. Calm yourself and don't get all afraid at this shiny new knowledge. It's just knowledge, not Law. It's a tool. It's possibly good advice, but certainly isn't a better conscience than your own.
- Talk to your doctor
You need to rely on an actual human being with actual honest training. Random shit on the internet shouldn't be good enough to base your health decisions on. The more worried you are, the more important it becomes to get expert advice.