Not that I live and breathe by what the FDA labels as “safe” but a scary fact is that no party, including the FDA, needs to approve dietary supplements before they are sold to consumers. The responsibility for determining the safety and effectiveness of any supplement falls on the shoulders of the company that manufactures and markets it. Anything that is not already classified as a drug can be put into pill, capsule or powder form and then marketed to the public. As much as I would like to believe that the intention of these companies is optimum health for all, this is not the case. Anyone with enough money to roll with the latest health fad can bottle up some dust and try to get your money.
To target the more specific supplements such as Vitamin A/C/D, magnesium, calcium or biotin to name some of the most popular, we know that these nutrients are healthful, important and overall “good for us.” But here is the catch…if our body is deficient/abundant in something then it is abundant/deficient in its counterpart and any symptoms felt during this time of imbalance are cries for help that your body wants it fixed. We have two choices…invest some time into finding the root of the problem or go for that quick fix and risk adding more elements to the equation. With blood testing, and the right pair of eyes looking at your results, it is possible to pinpoint some areas of concern and try to supplement accordingly. In my personal practicing methods, I find very few situations that need supplementing. Here are some of my recommendations:
Vitamin D3- necessary when you cannot spend at least 30 minutes with most of your body exposed to natural sunlight (i.e. winter in the northeast). Keep in mind that Vitamin D is fat-soluble and needs healthy fats in the system to be utilized properly.
Magnesium- can be very helpful when one has trouble sleeping or high levels of stress and/or anxiety. Due to the overuse of antibiotics in our healthcare system, our digestive tract incurs a lot of damage inhibiting much of our magnesium absorption. A little goes a long way here because even though our bodies don’t need high levels of this mineral, it is a crucial part of many processes. Another alternative here is to soak in a bath with Epsom salts and let the magnesium absorb into your skin. Plus, who doesn’t like a hot bath?!
Vitamin C- this is one of the easiest vitamins to get through diet alone. Why take a pill when you can just eat more fruits and vegetables? This is a water soluble vitamin so it needs plenty of water to be absorbed properly, which you also get when eating raw fresh produce. No need for pills here, just eat it!