Gettit #6 - More than eight supplements and you’re likely being drained

Stock up on supplements and prepare to have something drained.  Maybe not your health, but certainly your bank account.  Supplement sales is big business and the big sellers have learned, the right marketing spin, the right message on a website, can make people believe a single supplement will in and of itself serve as a solution.   There are many supplements that have shown genuine promise in research.  Saw palmetto has proven valuable in cases of prostatitis.   N-Acetyl Cysteine has demonstrated increases in glutathione, the immune system’s most powerful anti-oxidant.  Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid have both demonstrated anti-oxidant properties at the cellular level.  Pure fish oil from untarnished sources has significant evidence behind it to demonstrate its anti-inflammatory properties.  Then there are the standard vita-mineral formulas that provide us the micronutrition assurance that puts our minds at ease.  Add into the mix meal replacements (almost a necessity today), fiber, and the ergogenic training aids athletes use.  Amino acids, herbal protection, and cleansing formulas round out the overkill and when you total up the dollars you’d spend on all of the supplemental products the common marketing would lead you to believe you “need,” you’re out 700 dollars a month or more!

While specific supplements have specific biological value, you are a unique organism and your needs are individual much like your fingerprint.  Not only is your metabolism intricately unique, but so is your lifestyle.  If you’re going to get the best value for your dollar, you’ll want to recognize that food is your foundation and long term tweaking of “what you eat” can help you match your unique nutrition program with your unique needs. 

Although we are biological individuals, there are those rules that apply across the board.  Try to get nutrient complete meals from the most natural sources possible.  Next, consider “filling in the gaps” with a daily shake that might contain protein, fiber, and probiotics.  At that point your gut is being given the assistance it may need to allow you to better utilize the nutrients you’re getting from your supportive meals.  The starchy carbs and fibrous carbs you consume give you a slow and steady stream of energy, and if you incorporate wild caught cold water fish into a few of your weekly meals, you’re getting much of what you’re going to want from food.

At that point, if you feel you want to find “better” nutrition, study the available information, try to separate hype from science (not easy to do but I hope to serve as a resource for helping people make those distinctions), and try a single supplemental product.  In other words, if you’re experiencing some joint pain, and you’ve looked at the research and are satisfied that there might be some value to glucosamine / chondroitin, add in such a product and stay with it for a few months.  Then you can evaluate its value.

I meet many people who are taking upwards of 20 supplements a day, and while it is feasible that each one has value, I find in most cases some of the supplements are perceived excuses for poor nutrition. Almost always, we can find improvement by making positive shifts in food consumption. 

After working with tens of thousands of people consuming hundreds of thousands of supplements, I find seven or eight supplements to be reasonable for most.  The question, before adding more to the mix, should be, “do I know this one is working for me?”  If the answer is a shrug, then replace one of your supplements and try something new.

The common mistake I want to prevent you from making is falling into the belief that says, “this supplement will fix you.”  It won’t.  At best, it can be a supplemental piece of the all-important Synergy.

Click here for Gettit #7 or download the entire piece as a pdf