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TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

I’m a big believer of ‘prevention is better then cure’ and that keeping healthy should reduce time spent with your doctor. With my extensive experience on hospital wards I often see patients who are so highly over medicated that just carefully optimizing their drug regime instantly improves their medical condition and wellbeing. But rather than taking pharmaceuticals to fix things, can we take something to prevent things getting broken in the first place?

The Basics

We all need a good diet, good exercise, fresh air and quality sleep for a start. Less stress is ideal even if all of us busy bunnies seem to have a lot going on but we can work on that. We all try to eat well and my Instagram feed is always full of posts with great healthy dining options. There are a lot of future ‘Jo Wicks’ out there with some great healthy food ideas and recipes. It’s definitely worth a try.

What if you feel you aren’t getting all the good stuff from what you eat? Are you still feeling tired, lethargic and perhaps a little run down? Or do you want to focus on something particular like aching joints, improving skin, hair and nails or adding a bit more oomph at the gym without getting you into trouble like Lance Armstrong or Maria Sharapova?

Vitamins and Supplements

Most pharmacies, health food stores, supermarkets and even some beauty salons now have a wide array of vitamins available and the choice can be quite mind boggling. Unless you know exactly what you want or need, make sure you get sound advice from a qualified or properly trained individual.

Firstly I would always avoid the multivitamin varieties. These are of some use to the malnourished but most multivitamins do not have vitamins and minerals in enough quantity to make any real difference, especially when you are already eating a healthy diet. To help boost the vitamins and minerals your body absorbs from your diet, I suggest you use a good pre and pro-biotic supplement. My favourites are manufactured by Bio Kult or Optibac. Then you need to match the right supplement to your health goals.

There are 13 important essential vitamins required for the body to function properly. (Boring science bit alert) They are broadly split up into 2 categories, fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E and K) and water soluble vitamins (Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, vitamin C). You will see these listed on the side of food packets. Fat soluble vitamins are stored by the body and kept in reserves, so it is possible to over do these. Water soluble vitamins are flushed out in your urine and are not stored so will need topping up daily.

Eating a healthy and varied diet every day will provide you with a good supply of these vitamins with the exception of Vitamin D which your body synthesizes in natural sunlight. The bare minimum you need is around 10-15 minutes of decent sun exposure three times a week for your body to produce all the Vitamin D you need. The vitamins have different effects on various cell functions including nerve transmission, oxygen transport, blood clotting and cell regeneration.

Supplements and herbal products are much more interesting and if used properly will have you feeling amazing. These do vary greatly in quality depending on the brand, source and purity of the product. Look out for the word ‘standardised’ on the label when buying herbal products as they are made to a consistent industry recognised benchmark. My favourite brands are Solgar, Vega and Lamberts. They are of a very high quality and don’t make absurd claims on what they are for or can do for you. In many European countries, natural medicine is the first port of call when feeling poorly. There can be a lot of confusing information out there so make sure you get advice from a reputable source before taking any supplement.

We might not have clean, crisp Alpine air to breathe, but we can attain good health and wellbeing naturally. Next step – exercise, sleep and stress control.

Keen to learn more? Get in touch.

Written by Bhavash Padhiar

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