The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry ($151.9 billion in 2021, to be exact), and it continues to grow every year. There seems to be a supplement for everything, and walking down the supplement aisle can be an overwhelming experience. We are bombarded by all kinds of products promising more energy, increased focus, and a boosted metabolism, but which supplements actually work and are worth your money?
First thing’s first when it comes to supplements: you can’t out-supplement a bad diet. Supplements have a place in a healthy lifestyle, but they are no replacement for a balanced diet full of fruit, veggies, protein, and whole grains. If you have a solid nutritional base, then supplementation may help fill in the small gaps. However, it’s never a good idea to rely on supplements to improve a mostly unhealthy diet.
That being said, supplements do have a time and a place. Certain times when supplements are beneficial include:
If you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals as shown by a blood test through your doctor
Vitamin B12 if you consume a vegan diet
Vitamin D if you don’t get at least 15 minutes of sun on your skin daily
Omega 3s if you don’t eat at least 3 servings of fatty fish (such as salmon) weekly
Protein powder to boost protein intake and/or as a quick way to consume protein after a workout for recovery
Creatine if muscle gain is your goal
This is not an exclusive list. If you have questions about other supplements, I’d be happy to answer them. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions (related to supplements or nutrition in general).
We can’t talk about supplements without mentioning supplement safety. Firstly, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, meaning that certain supplements may potentially contain ingredients not listed on the packaging. To avoid taking unsafe or contaminated supplements, look for products that are third-party tested and certified. This means that an outside company has tested the supplement and has ensured that it only contains ingredients that are on the label and in the listed amounts. You can tell that a supplement is third-party certified for looking for one of these three logos on the packaging:
Nutrition can be overwhelming at times, and this is especially true when it comes to supplements. As a dietitian and health coach, I help people simplify their nutrition and figure out a way of eating healthy that is easy to follow, personalized, and sustainable. I am currently accepting new nutrition coaching clients. If you are interested in learning more, the first step is to sign up for a free initial nutrition session. To schedule your free session, check out my website at www.emilyzorn.com.
To learn about nutrition, diets, and more, check out my podcast RDs vs BS on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or the website www.rdsvsbs.com. If you want to learn more about supplements in particular, check out the episode “Individualized Vitamins.”