WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMART SUPPLEMENTATION
Is there such a thing as too many supplements?
The short answer, yes. You absolutely can overdo it on the supplement front.
If you're anything like us, you’ve most likely fallen down a bit supplement rabbit hole in the past, or might still be stuck there in this very moment.
Pulled from every which way, you’ve purchased from countless different brands, inspired by influencer marking and researched ailments until your blue in the face, only to find that every resource recommends you something different.
Before you know it, your supplement stash is so hefty it starts to make your 10-step skincare routine appear low maintenance
But what’s the issue? Supplements are good right, and you can never have too much of a good thing.
Wrong. You can absolutely take too many supplements.
Very few influencers and supplement companies talk about overlapping nutrients. When we get too much of a particular nutrient, specifically minerals, the mineral taken in excess can start to relentlessly compete for absorption, causing uptake of other essential minerals to become compromised.
Let’s talk specifics.
- Too much zinc depletes copper and vice versa. We need the perfect amount of copper (not too much and not too little) for energy production, immune function and iron absorption.
- High levels of iron and calcium can compromise zinc absorption.
- High levels of zinc can inhibit iron absorption
- Magnesium supplementation should be done away from zinc and calcium, again, they compete for absorption.
- For sufficient magnesium absorption, we need enough available B6 and Vitamin D3.
- For calcium absorption and metabolism, we need D3.
Whilst we've barely scratched the surface, those are the main ones you need to know about.
So as you can imagine, if you’re taking multiple supplement complexes, on top of a multi-vitamin and single minerals on top of that too, that's a tonne of cross over. So much so that it could actually deplete other minerals rather than raise them, as well as providing you with a close to a toxic dose of dominating nutrients and potential harm to your body.
Furthermore, whilst we love herbs and adaptogens, they follow the same rule. Too many herbs may conflict with one another and, in some cases, can amplify symptoms if taken incorrectly. For example, vitex is often viewed as a hormone balancing staple, supportive of irregular cycles. It works to raise progesterone and LH, the latter is already high in women with PCOS, so can further exacerbate symptoms, for example.
This also goes for maca and ashwagandha. The former, used for hormonal balance and energy but can actually increase anxiety and panic if someone is already prone. Ashwagandha helps to lower cortisol and support the adrenals, but if you're already struggling to wake up in the morning (a symptom of adrenal dysfunction and low cortisol), taking ashwagandha in the AM can further amplify the sleepiness.
IT’S A LOT ON YOUR LIVER
It might not be the coolest thing to admit, but we love the liver and all its wonderful attributes. We need a healthy, fully functioning liver for countless reasons, including detoxification of major hormones and toxins, as well as breaking down certain macronutrients. We've written a snappy post on 50 ways to support your liver, which breaks it all down for you.
Several things can place a heavy load on the liver, distracting it from doing its main jobs and thus, become a bit of a burden. Whilst synthetic medication is certainly on that list of liver loaders (and yes, we understand that modern medicine is a GIFT, we’re not knocking it), in some cases, an overload of supplements can be too.
Consider if you’re struggling with symptoms of sluggish detoxification such as oestrogen dominance, to pull back on the supplements and focus on the basics. Opt for foods that support your liver such as cruciferous veg, leafy greens, quality protein, adequate hydration and opt for more functional supplementation that directly support the liver.
SUPPLEMENT FOR SUPPLEMENT SAKE
We can fall into the trap of thinking that our supplement regime will be the ultimate cure-all for our health woes, but in reality, supplements should simply supplement an already healthy, holistic lifestyle. You cannot out supplement a poor diet, sleepless nights and chronic stress.
If you are ticking all the boxes, eating a wide range of plants and high-quality animal protein, managing stress effectively and sleeping well, then a solid supplement routine will fill the small gaps in your wellness protocol.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to smart supplementation:
- The time of day you’re supplementing. For example, magnesium, zinc and calcium should all be taken in the evening. Adaptogens can vary, but the majority of the more calming herbs such as ashwagandha should be taken in the evening too.
- Amino acids should be taken away from food.
- B vitamins should be taken in the morning, as they support energy levels.
- Vitamins A, D, E, K (and usually a multi-vitamin/ prenatal) should be taken alongside a meal, or at least with a little fat.
DOES THE COST MATTER IN TERMS OF QUALITY?
Yes and no. There are some fabulous supplement companies on the market offering reasonably priced supplements that won't cost the earth, use the most bio-available form of a nutrient and are very effective. Our favourite cost-effective brands include Cyto-Plan and Garden of Life.
When it comes to cost, consider what you are being charged for. Is it the fancy glass bottle (we know, we're suckers for them too), extravagant marketing campaigns or the actual cost of production and ingredients. There are a lot of supplements on the market with a higher price point that actually contains the same standard and amount of active ingredients as others that are a little cheaper. The same can be said for cheaper supplements too. What form of the nutrient are they using? Some of the harsher, less bio-available types of minerals and vitamins are often cheaper to manufacture.
DO I NEED TO WORRY ABOUT FILLERS AND BULKING AGENTS?
Not really. Typically, we want to see as little excipients in a supplement as possible (the added extras that aren't the active ingredient) but they are usually in there for a reason.
These include emulsifiers, stabilisers, bulk agents - all of which act to keep the active ingredient intact within the supplement, to fill out the capsule or to ensure it doesn't disintegrate until it gets to the right part of the digestive system. These typically come in such small amounts, they won't affect your health. Flow agents act to ensure that the ingredients don't stick to any machinery.
Anti-oxidants are sometimes added to supplements to prevent oxidisation, such as fish oil and in some cases, minerals and vitamins will be combined to ease any harsh side effects on the stomach, these are called buffers.
What we don't want to see is sugar or any artificial sweeteners. Stay away from gummies, syrups or anything that is unnaturally coloured. Hopefully, this goes without saying.
I STILL DON'T KNOW WTF I SHOULD BE TAKING.
At the end of the day, we could not recommend working with a professional more if we tried. Find yourself a trusty nutritionist who will help you run the right tests (test, don't guess!) and will be able to prescribe you the right supplements for you. They'll even be able to help in terms of ensuring your absorbing any supplements and nutrients from your food optimally. In the long-term, this takes the guesswork out of it and saves you a tonne of money.
glow market and the content provided are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on glow market and The Scoop is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your doctor and/ or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.