Navigating the supplement aisle can be overwhelming. From gummies, to capsules, to powders and more, supplements can come in so many forms and formulas that it can be tough to know where to even start. Because of the sheer amount of information, supplementation tends to be one preventative health measure that many put off. Consumers understand that there is a wealth of potential health benefits to be gained from adding a supplement to their diet, but how can they know that they’re taking one that is right for them?
For those who may not know exactly what they’re looking for, education from a reliable source is key. Taking a moment to do some research before you shop can go a long way.
Who Takes Supplements, and Why?
Like bodies, not all supplements are created equal. There are as many reasons why one might choose to add a supplement to their diet as there are unique health needs and goals. For instance, some might take supplements to make up for missing nutrients in their diet. Others might choose to add a supplement for a specific aim, such as managing stress or fatigue, or ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
While a supplement is not a replacement for maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, for many, the benefits of supplementation can make a significant impact on their day-to-day lives. These include the alleviation of symptoms from other health conditions, including low immune function, stress, depression and anxiety, and more. As is the case with any new health treatment, it’s important to know what you’re taking, and if it’s actually been shown to be effective for your particular concern.
What to Consider When Choosing a Supplement
Particularly for newcomers to the world of supplementation, it’s important to know that not everything you need to know about choosing the right supplement can be learned from reading a label. In order to pick the best supplement for you, start with an honest assessment of your needs, goals, and health history. Even if you don’t know what type of supplement you’re looking for, you know your body best.
Symptoms and Desired Outcomes
It may seem simple, but asking yourself, “What am I looking to achieve?” is where your journey begins, and it’s a question that only you can answer. Maybe you’re ready to take a more holistic approach to your mental health as you move into spring, with mood support as a priority. Or, maybe you’ve adopted a new post-winter diet or workout regime, and you’re focusing on weight management and energy levels. Consciously reflecting on your health needs can not only help you navigate the world of supplementation with more confidence – it can also help you make the most of your activities while achieving your health goals.
Symptoms such as low mood or low energy can be a result of certain nutrient or vitamin deficiencies, which a supplement can address. While most experts agree that a balanced, plant-based diet rich in whole foods is sufficient to meet the needs of most healthy people, if you are nutrient-deficient for only one nutrient, diet alone may not be enough to correct it. For those with particular vitamin or nutrient deficiencies, extra support in the form of a supplement may be necessary to restore those levels.
Diet and Allergies
Diet, food allergies, and food sensitivities play an important role in selecting a supplement for a few reasons. For example, it may not be as easy as you think to find health products that are vegan, vegetarian, or free of gluten, wheat, soy, or nuts. If you are maintaining a particular diet regime, or are conscious of an allergy or other food sensitivity, be advised that your supplement could contain ingredients that can negatively impact your health.
Some non-medicinal ingredients (NMI's) are necessary in supplement formulation, as they play a role in the composition, absorption and delivery of nutrients. However, not all companies steer clear of unnecessary fillers. While companies should do their best to minimize NMI’s, and always disclose exactly what’s in the product, this isn’t – unfortunately – always the case. It’s for this reason that reading the ingredients list and consulting with a health practitioner is crucial to finding your way through the world of supplementation. Always make an effort to find out exactly what you're putting in your body.
What You Should Know About Taking Supplements with Medications
Apart from considerations such as personal goals, dietary restrictions, and allergies, something else to be mindful of before choosing a supplement is how it could interact with a medication you are already taking. Many people assume that, because a supplement is considered natural, it is safe to take alongside any prescription medication. However, the potential for harmful interactions is always present, even with raw ingredients from nature. For example, has your doctor ever advised you to avoid grapefruit juice when taking a certain medication? This is because grapefruit juice has been known to reduce the absorption of certain medications, thus making it easier for the medication to pass from your gut to your bloodstream.
There are a number of circumstances that can lead to an interaction that was not expected. The bottom line is, it is especially important to talk to your doctor before starting with a supplement if you are taking any other prescription medications.
How to Choose High-Quality Supplements
Once you have a sense of what you’re looking for in a supplement, make sure you’re placing your trust and money with the right company. Shopping smart means shopping with discernment. Pay attention to the following:
- Quality ingredients. Consider where ingredients are sourced from, and what the company’s standards are for testing raw material quality.
- Active ingredients used in the right dosage. Active ingredients are the components that address the health concerns a supplement is meant to target. “Research-backed” claims mean that the dosages in the products should match dosages used in the research.
- Strong research practices. A company that demonstrates a commitment to innovation will continually work to bring new products to market, and ensure delivery methods that work best with your body.
AOR’s Unique Advantage
With a range of high-quality supplements to suit many different needs, AOR has what you need to transform your health positively. Try out AOR’s Personalization Quiz, which makes it easy to find out which supplement is right for you, and take the guesswork out of the process and purchase with confidence, starting today.
Also, did you know that AOR’s Rewards Program allows you to collect points for every dollar you spend? Sign up today and start earning points on all your purchases, so you can redeem them for products and swag. Four levels, from bronze to platinum, offer their own unique benefits. As you move to a new tier, you earn points faster, and receive more perks. Why not make the absolute most of your dollar alongside your efforts to get healthy this year?
Please note: Always consult a healthcare professional before starting supplements.
At AOR, our vision is to transform health through natural, personalized, and therapeutic care. We seek to catalyze change and challenge conventions through continuous innovation. For twenty-eight years, it has been our mission to transform scientific research into evidence-based, natural health products that empower people to lead their best lives.