Supplements 101: A Guide on Choosing the Right Vitamins

By Dr. Edward F. Group

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

With so many supplements out there where do you start? Taking supplements can vastly improve your life, alleviating pain, boosting energy, and aiding in many other ways. So, I’m going to give you a crash course on how to get started. Think of it as Supplements 101. Either watch the video below or keep reading to learn everything you need to know about vitamins and supplements.

Beginning Your Supplements Journey

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 68 percent of Americans take dietary supplements. That’s over half the nation! They also say 78 percent of Americans agree that dietary supplements are a way to move toward a healthy lifestyle.

So, how can you move towards that healthier lifestyle and create a supplement plan that works for you? I’ll explain how to choose your supplements, how to determine what your body needs, how to find safe options, and how to take supplements.

When you begin to look into supplements for the first time, a bunch of questions might start popping into your mind including:

  • What do I need?
  • What brands are the best?
  • Are these supplements going to be safe for me?
  • Will it conflict with the medications I might be on?
  • Are there any side effects?

The questions can go on forever!

Supplements must be taken seriously. Although multivitamins are a great source of nutrients for the average person, in all seriousness, there is no true one-size-fits-all. Everybody’s biochemistry is different, everybody’s absorption is different, and everybody might need different variations of vitamins, minerals, or herbs.

So where do you begin? Let’s break this into a three-step process.

Step #1: Determine Your Body’s Needs

Step number one is to determine what your body needs. The best way is to get nutrients through food. High-energy, live, raw foods will provide a lot of the good vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, creating a diet that provides 100 percent of what you need is almost impossible. Tracking the foods you eat is one place to begin to reveal what your body is getting and what it’s not getting.

Other important factors to consider are your state of health, age, energy level, and any medical conditions. These can greatly impact the type of supplements you may need. Someone who has osteoporosis, for example, may need to pay attention to calcium and vitamin D, while somebody with thyroid issues should pay attention to selenium and iodine. Medical conditions can also provide warnings against certain supplements. For example, someone taking blood thinners should avoid certain herbs and vitamin K.

Although we just talked about some factors to consider, it’s valuable to do your own research, to look online, or even get a professional health consultant, like a doctor, naturopath, or chiropractor, to help you along your journey.

Preparing Your Body for Optimal Absorption

What I recommend — and what I’ve seen is the most successful way to kickstart your body’s health — is to cleanse the body first.

Many times, I’ve had patients or individuals that have come in with bags full of supplements they bought from the drugstore or supermarket. When you take all these supplements into your body, but haven’t cleansed or detoxified first, you might not be able to utilize these vitamins. Your body might not be able to break them down effectively.

So, I always recommend, before starting any supplement program, take two steps back and clean your gut, intestines, liver, harmful organisms, chemicals, and heavy metals out of your system. Once your body is clean and functioning, then you’re going to be able to benefit and get the maximum use out of the supplements you choose.

Step #2: Explore Your Options

Step two is exploring your options. That means when you’re buying supplements to be cautious. Unfortunately, not all supplements are good and safe supplements. Some contain ingredients that aren’t even listed on the label and can be toxic to your body.

How do you determine whether a brand is reliable? Well, you’ll have to check the certifications and the ingredients closely in the product.

The one thing I usually look for is the “other ingredients” section. I can tell if a supplement is good or bad almost instantaneously by looking at the other ingredients. If it has magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, toxic fillers, binders, or excipients, that would mean that the company is most likely not going above and beyond to create a supplement product with 100 percent safe ingredients.

Another thing I recommend is to go directly to the company and research them. Are they are a reputable company? Read the supplement company’s content. Are they transparent about sourcing? Are they using certified organic herbs? Call the customer support line and asks them about the supplements, quality control, and ingredients. Are the ingredients responsibly sourced, organic, GMO-free, vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and soy-free?

In addition to evaluating a reliable brand, read the label of each bottle. The nutritional information on supplement labels is typically divided into two sections — the active and other ingredients. Active ingredients are what support your health. The other ingredients are the inactive parts of the supplement. Those can also include dyes, films, glues, anti-caking agents, and other things that aren’t necessary. Not all of the other ingredients are bad, but a good rule of thumb is the fewer the better.

It’s smart to get comfortable with the information on labels. It’s important to understand the serving size, suggested use, key ingredients, and percent daily value.

A lot of the supplements that you’re going to purchase from drugstores, cheap online stores, or grocery stores are going to contain synthetic nutrients. I don’t even want to call them nutrients because a lot of times they’re actually toxins to your body. Just because you might be able to find a cheap supplement brand, that doesn’t mean that, for example, calcium is going to be good for your body. Calcium carbonate can actually take calcium from your body.

You want to choose and spend your money wisely on efficient, nutrient-dense, bioavailable supplements — the ones that the body can actually use versus the nutrients that may be synthetic that harm the body. Just because you see an ingredient on the label doesn’t mean you’re going to benefit from it. Quality is always the biggest factor. It’s better to just spend more for that quality to make sure that it’s going to be absorbed and utilized by your body.

Step #3: Implementation and Best Practices

There are so many different supplement brands and herbs out there, but once you secure the supplement you want to take, the story isn’t over. It just brings us to step three, which is implementation. You’ll learn the best practices on how long you need to take it, how to take it, and whether you should increase or decrease doses. It’s basically you figuring out what you need!

Everybody is different, so when it’s time to take your supplement, follow the instructions completely. If you’re taking the correct dosage as directed, you can check with your healthcare provider. They might want you taking a bit more or less. So after taking the supplement, be on the lookout for any changes that happen in your body or, for that matter, changes that don’t happen in your body. This will give you a good feel of whether the supplement’s working or not. Just pay attention to any signs like:

  • Are you getting a little bit more sleep at night?
  • Is your energy coming back up?
  • Are you having better digestion?

All of these things will cue you in the right direction for if that supplement is working for you or not.

The next stage is how you store your supplements. I personally recommend storing your supplements in a dark, cool, dry place. Make sure that your supplements are not accessible to your children and pets. Some vitamins last longer than others, so check the expiration dates regularly and be sure to avoid supplements past their expiration date.

Global Healing uses cutting edge science as far as nutraceuticals, herbs are concerned, and manufacturing processes are concerned. We use the highest quality ingredients to provide the best supplements on the market today. Check out our website to read about our company and our products to learn more.

With all this in mind, here’s my number one secret. Listen to your body and cleanse your body on a regular basis. Keeping your body clean and listening to your body’s symptoms will help you decide what supplements you may need.

No supplement is a substitute for a healthy diet. A well-designed, organic meal plan with a balanced approach to essential nutrients will do more good than all the pills, powders, tablets, capsules in the world. Supplements just fill any gaps in the plan.

If we can share great health information with each and every one of you, we are happy to do so. Check out our Free Guide to Essential Health Supplements PDF to guide you on your health journey.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

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About the author:

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centers his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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