With the current pandemic, people are searching for ways to protect themselves from getting infected. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to support your immune system and improve overall health. A healthy, balanced diet of clean, whole, unprocessed foods, lifestyle practices such as getting quality sleep and regular exercise, and nutrition supplementation can do wonders for your health.
Health food supplements are one of the hottest selling products in the market these days. Their total consumption values billions of dollars in the U.S. alone. Recent surveys show that more than half of the adults in the U.S. consume health food supplements in different forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders, soft gels, gel caps and liquids.
In the Philippines, a report generated by Ken Research (a Global aggregator and publisher of market intelligence, equity and economy reports), the nutraceuticals market is expected to reach PHP 261 billion in terms of revenues by 2022.
The increased consumption of health food supplements can be attributed to public awareness of health issues and improved standard of living in our society. Many studies have shown that there is a close correlation between health and nutrition. Insufficient supply of nutrients can weaken our body defense mechanism, causing medical problems from common ailments to more severe illnesses in the long term.
There are different types of health food supplements, including macronutrients (amino acids, proteins, essential fatty acids), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), enzymes (digestive enzymes and antioxidant enzymes), probiotics (beneficial bacteria in the gut), and herbal supplements. These supplements have unique functions in our body. They are either essential for life and good health, modulate our immune system or help with liver detoxification, digestion, mental clarity, etc.
"Okaaayyyy...good to know...BUT do I really need supplements?"
Many people argue that there is no need to consume health food supplements as long as you have a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet. While this may be true, the fact is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper diet is difficult to achieve by many people.
Over the past few decades, the green revolution has changed the farming practices over the world. We use more chemical fertilizers, more pesticides to grow the food produce in order to increase harvest and shorten the growth period. As a result, soil nutrients and the population of beneficial soil bacteria are depleted rapidly, and the produce we grow today contain less micronutrients than before.
A stressful lifestyle, improper eating habits, imbalanced diet and increased exposure to chemicals such as environmental pollutants (air, water) and pesticides, drugs, hormones, heavy metals in foods also weaken our body gradually.
Although health food supplements can be beneficial to our health, consumers should still choose the products carefully. Currently, there is little regulation on the quality of health food supplements. Composition of some health food products may not match the label claims and the quality of raw materials and finished products is not guaranteed. Therefore, consumers should only buy from reputable health food manufacturers, read the labels carefully and read more related literature.
Here are some general rules for buying health food supplements:
1) Supplements made from whole foods, natural sources are better than the synthetic ones. They are more bioactive, can be absorbed readily, and less likely to be contaminated by chemicals such as coal tars used in chemical synthesis.
2) Protein-bonded vitamins and minerals (vitamins and minerals in organic form, binding to amino acids) are more bioactive than the inorganic forms.
3) Buy supplements using safe extraction methods, such as cold pressed extraction or supercritical extraction. This can avoid the harmful residue from chemical extraction.
4) Herbal concentrate and extract are usually more effective than the raw herbs.
5) Organically grown or wild crafted herbs are less likely to be contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals.
6) Read the labels! Do not consume more than the recommended dose.
7) Be careful when consuming certain herbal supplements, such as Ma Huang / ephedra, Kava Kava, comfrey, etc. Some studies have shown that these herbs may cause severe side effects to some people. Stop use if unusual signs appear after consumption.
8) Some health food supplements may interact with drugs, either by decreasing or increasing their effects. An example is a potential interaction between Vitamin K and the blood-thinning medication, Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), that is usually prescribed to prevent blood clots. Consult your doctor if you are currently taking medications.
9) Pregnant and nursing women, people with specific medical conditions should consult their doctors when consuming health food supplements.
10) If in doubt, contact the supplement manufacturers or distributors for more information on their products.
11) Health food supplements are available in many places, such as grocery stores, health food stores, drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, department stores, online stores, etc. Be a smart consumer! Read the labels, research on the companies that produces the supplements, and compare prices and service before purchase. It's well worth the effort because your health is your wealth and investment. So, invest in yourself!
Personally, I do a LOT of research on a health food supplement company and their products and read consumer reviews before I decide to purchase a nutraceutical. If the supplement has endorsers, I also do some research on them to determine their integrity.
For those who have been with me for some time, I'm sure you are aware that I do take supplements. Over the years and after a lot of research, I have found three brands that I totally trust: USANA, Life Extension, and doTERRA.
You can browse and shop for USANA products here (Please click your country location in the upper right corner).*
For doTERRA products, learn more and shop here.*
While the foundation of a healthy immune system will always be the food you put into your body and the daily practices you do, taking health supplements can help take your health up a notch, filling in the gaps that our modern, agricultural products can no longer provide.
How about you? What's your take on health supplements? Do you take them? Which brands or products have you found that work well for you? Let me know in the comments below and let's get a conversation rolling!
Wishing you a beautiful and soulfully empowered day!
* Income Disclosure: The products I recommend are those that I personally use, absolutely love and have remarkably positive results with. I love that you are curious about them and are taking the steps in taking care of your health and wellbeing. Thank you for checking them out! Please bear in mind that I do earn a bit of commission when you purchase through the product links provided. This allows me to continue providing you with up-to-date content and information on optimizing your health. If you choose to purchase something through me and my links, I thank you for your trust. Be well, be healthy and be soulfully empowered!