Nutrition and Food

Let’s Chat: Supplements

A common concern when I work with clients is whether or not they’re getting all of the nutrition that they need from their diet. While the majority of us are likely consuming plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and fat there are some people who have higher needs than the general population. Examples include individuals who have a chronic disease that necessitates higher intakes of specific nutrients (such as a patient on dialysis or an individual with COPD), people who are very athletic and training for a specific goal or body composition, and people who are still growing or going through puberty. Even individuals who may have a poor appetite at baseline may find that supplementation helps them meet their nutrient needs to maintain optimal health.

As a Registered Dietitian I always recommend that food be your first source of the macro and micronutrients. But since we don’t live in an ideal world many of us may benefit from certain supplements such as vitamins or protein.

TL;DR

Supplementation is an individual choice and one that should be discussed with your healthcare providers. Be aware that not all supplements are created equal; choose those that are third party certified.

I personally recommend Vitalura Labs supplements as they are third party certified (NSF). You can read more about my thoughts on their whey protein supplement and their plant-protein supplement. You can also shop directly on Vitalura Labs website- get free shipping on your order using the code SARAHMILLER.

Factors to Consider

The recommendation to supplement is very individual. There is no one size fits all with anything nutrition related. However there are a couple of supplements that are very popular and you’ve likely considered taking but wondered if it’s necessary for your goals/health.

The information in this post is general and not to be taken as medical or nutrition related advice. Anytime you are considering a supplement you should discuss with your Medical Doctor and your Registered Dietitian. Especially if you are currently taking any pharmaceuticals as some over the counter (OTC) products including supplements may interact with some prescribed medications. Always disclose your use of dietary supplements to your medical providers. You can also check with your Pharmacist about any medication/supplement interactions. Additionally a Registered Dietitian would be most appropriate to evaluate your individual need for specific supplements such as protein or high calorie products.

Supplement Safety

Did you know that supplements are not regulated the same way that your food or medications are? Many people in the US are shocked to learn that there is no required testing to ensure that a supplement is providing exactly what it says on the label with no more and no less.

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has in place Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs for short) that companies must follow which can help prevent having a wrong ingredient added and reduces the chances that your supplement is contaminated. It’s worth noting that the FDA doesn’t require companies to report or audit these facilities. Supplements are generally pulled from the market only after enough consumer complaints have been submitted that warrant the FDA to step in. The FDA does not require approval of a supplement BEFORE it can be sold unless it contains a “new dietary ingredient”.

However, there are independent organizations that offer quality testing to ensure that the label on your supplement is accurate with nothing hidden or added. These include NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeia and ConsumerLab.com.

To ensure that the supplement you are buying is labeled correctly and contains what it says it contains (with no more and no less) is to look for the seal of one of the above listed organizations.

Third- party certification of a product means that an independent organization reviewed the manufacturing process and independently determined that the final product complies with safety, quality or performance standards. Companies pay to have their product go through testing. This means that when you purchase a product that has one of those 3 independent seals you are definitely purchasing from a company who is putting their money where their mouth is and wants you to know that you can trust what is on their label.

Now What?

As a Registered Dietitian I highly recommend supplements that have been through third party testing over supplements that don’t have that quality seal.

Many of you know that I’m a huge fan of Vitalura Labs supplements because they are NSF certified to prove that they are as high quality as they claim to be. You can read my thoughts on their whey protein powder and their vegan protein powder on my other blog posts. They’ve even recently released a creatine monohydrate supplement that I’m currently taking and would also recommend to people interested in improving their physical performance.

To remain completely transparent I’m a part of their affiliate program but this has not altered my professional analysis of their products. You will not find me recommending products that I don’t consider to be of the utmost quality and safety. I have personally purchased their products for my own consumption because I truly believe in what they’re putting on the market.

Vitalura recently released a new creatine monohydrate supplement. For the first time I’m currently using a creatine supplement. Can you believe it?! There are many reasons I never tried creatine before and why I decided to try it now, but I’ll leave that for my upcoming review/post to discuss.

Further Reading

I highly recommend that anyone considering supplementation take a moment to review the additional links I have provided here:

Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know Fact Sheet for Consumers (from NIH)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements

NSF Certification

Have Questions?

Comment below or fill out a form! I love hearing which topics are interesting and mysterious to you so that I can help you make informed decisions for your wellness journey.

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