Should You Really Be Taking Supplements?

Should you really be taking supplements?

When you grow up and the fun tasting, chewable vitamins are off the table, taking supplements sounds boring. From the age of 17 to 24, I signed off from this ritual of taking daily vitamins. It was partly my forgetfulness alongside my unfounded decision that they were all a lie. I had this idea that they were just another money maker for the wellness industry. 2015 was a rather bleak year for me healthwise and I began to do more research into various supplements and began a daily routine.


Should you really be taking supplements?

The term “supplements” sounds daunting. A huge variety exists alongside your standard multivitamin and even those are all different when you zoom in to their components. To me, the point of a supplement is to act as a sidekick to a healthy diet and lifestyle that you may already have in place or are working towards. In most cases they’re not an “instead of” option or something you just take in the Winter to magically stop you from getting a cold.

No matter how amazingly healthy someone’s diet and lifestyle is, it’s not always possible to get your recommended daily amount of vitamins, minerals etc. via that method alone. The fact that two different broccoli (for example) can have very different nutritional values says a lot. This is why I’ve grown to think that supplements are necessary and we should be taking them in some respect.

A lack of certain vitamins, minerals, fats or proteins may not always physically present itself. In fact, it may never bother you at all. But for some, those present themselves as deficiencies that can affect your well-being on a greater scale. This is something I noticed in myself which is what led me to trying a select few supplements.

You have to take a supplement for months to start to see any effect. It has to build up in your body and whilst I don’t think that every supplement should be taken daily, a consistent routine is key alongside being aware of your body’s reactions. Please note: I am just describing my personal routine that I’ve decided upon on a mixture of my own research and recommendations from doctors. I can’t recommend to you what you should take nor give advice on the matter since I’m not qualified to do so.

Should you really be taking supplements? 

MY SUPPLEMENT ROUTINE

Evening Primrose Oil - x1 a day

This capsule contains an Omega-6 fatty acid which is essential for regulating the reproductive cycle and many other body functions. This fatty acid (Gamma-Linolenic Acid ) is needed to produce the prostaglandin hormone.

I’ve consistently been taking these for a year now. Originally, I was just hoping this would help clear up my skin (which it did) but its main focus is helping to balance hormone levels and reducing the severity of PMS. I’ve actually noticed a significant reduction in hormonal acne over the last 4 months. Having said this, there is apparently no scientific proof to back up these claims (nor disregard them completely). I still maintain taking them though because of the positive effect it has had on my skin.


Vitamin B6* - x1 a week

This pairs well with Evening Primrose and would be considered a part of a “supplement cocktail” to aid women’s health. I would note that B6 is in many foods such as bananas, legumes, carrots, egg and fish. I eat some of these foods in my diet so a daily supplement would be too much. Too much B6 is dangerous and you will unlikely be able to reverse the damage done.

Although my diet consists of many B6 rich foods, I had read that VB6 would aid against conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and PMS. It is essential for well functioning metabolic processes, your nervous system and supporting adrenal function. The latter of which has been a highlighted concern of mine. [read more on vitamin b6 here]

Should you really be taking supplements? Just Vitamins Vitamin B6

Consistently good levels of B6 in the body will help with hormone regulation and reducing that tired, fatigued and lack of energy feeling. This particular bag of Just Vitamins B6 tablets* are at quite a high dosage of 50mg which is why I wouldn’t recommend taking these daily. In fact, I may cut down my usage of these to a couple times a month. They also sell a 10mg bag which, looking back, would have been a better choice.


Vegetarian Omega 3

This is a little concoction of flax seed oil, vitamin E and omega 3. They recommend taking this twice a day but as it’s 1000mg, I have opted for 1-2 times a week. Great for brain and heart health and a good alternative if you struggle to include a sufficient amount of Omega 3 in your diet which usually come in the form of seafood and dairy. [read more on omega 3 foods here]

One thing I did make a note of is the importance of balancing omega 3s and 6s. Too much of the latter compared with omega 3 can cause inflammation, allergies etc. This article provides a good explanation just to be aware.


BUYING SUPPLEMENTS FROM JUST VITAMINS

I would usually wait for Boots to have a 3 for 2 offer on vitamins and then stock up. However, after being introduced to Just Vitamins, they appear to be a more viable route. All vitamins come in these travel-friendly resealable bags as opposed to bulky bottles. This also means they’re easily slipped through your letterbox so you don’t have to worry about being out when your delivery arrives (free UK delivery).. They provide a huge selection (including vegetarian options that don’t contain gelatin) and at great value.

As an example, Boots sell Evening Primrose Oil at 500mg for £5.39 for 60 capsules. Seeing as I take this daily, that lasts me roughly 2 months. However, (if gelatin isn’t an issue for you) you can buy the same supplement from Just Vitamins for £7.95 and 180 capsules. A much better deal.

Their website also allows you to search via health concern or condition such as “sleep and relaxation”, “digestive health” or “skin and beauty”. And under each product listing there is information on the vitamin/supplement, what it’s useful for and what it pairs well with.

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Should you really be taking supplements? My thoughts on supplements, my current routine and the benefits of each.
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