22 Feb Supplements 101
As a registered dietitian, I’m often asked:
The most basic of the basics:
Now it’s my turn to ask some questions:
- Do you have a diagnosis or specific health concern we are working with, or are you looking for a nutritional “insurance policy”?
- What other supplements or medications are you taking? (Some medications and supplements don’t play nicely together)
- What does your diet look like?
- What’s your schedule and where are you in your dance season or career?
Demands, demands, demands!
Here are some examples of when targeted supplementation would be recommended:
- You spend most of your time indoors between school, work, classes, and rehearsals. Since the best source of Vitamin D is reasonable sun exposure, you may fall short on this crucial nutrient that is required for bone health, immunity, and mood. It’s even been shown to support strength and jump height. After a nutrition history review, it would likely be reasonable to recommend a Vitamin D supplement with Vitamin K2. Why K2? It plays a central role in the metabolism of calcium, a primary mineral found in your bones and teeth. Vitamin K2 activates the calcium-binding actions of two proteins, which help to build and maintain bones.
- You have a genetic variant that prevents you from adequately metabolizing certain nutrients to their active form. Taking the active form in a supplement form, as well as avoiding synthetic forms in processed foods, could improve overall health, mood, performance and longevity.
- If you’ve been on a course of antibiotics or don’t eat fermented foods regularly, a probiotic might be appropriate.
- If you’ve been diagnosed with any sort of anemia, you should take the necessary vitamins or minerals to reverse it.
- If you have a hard time physically eating enough due to time constraints, IBS or other GI issues, or from the sheer demand of your work, supplements may be needed to keep you at peak performance.
- If you are looking to improve strength or training, certain target supplements such as creatine or whey could be beneficial.
- You’re vegan, meaning you don’t eat any animal products. Since Vitamin B12 is only found in animal sources, many vegans benefit from a high-quality B12 supplement.
There’s that term “high-quality” again. What does it mean, exactly?
High-quality supplements can be expensive. Really expensive. Why do they cost so much?
1. It takes a lot to get a little
2. Third-party testing
Supplements fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), is a 1994 statute of United States Federal legislation that defines and regulates dietary supplements. Essentially, legislation was driven by consumers that effectively treats supplements more like food than drugs. The FDA is busy, and with over 85,000 supplements on the market, it doesn’t act as the safety police. Rather, individual companies are given the task to self-regulate. This is where that whole “high-quality” part comes into play.
3. The form
So, what’s the verdict?