Choosing the Right Supplements for You

Choosing the Right Supplements for YouHow often do you hear things like "Hey, listen, I heard CoQ10's good for you" or "I heard this will help your eyesight" or "This will make you live longer”? Remember all substances—whether they be prescriptive substances, herbal substances, vitamins, minerals, even food—are capable of having a good biological effect and are also capable of having a bad biological effect.

Realize that you are unique. No two people have the same genes, the same history, the same beliefs, the same chemistry, the same diet, the same environment as anybody else. That being said, there is not a one size fits all. That's why they call medicine an art and not a science. So if you are getting a diabetic medication and you get these uncomfortable side effects, then find a doctor who will work with you to try different medications until you find the one most effective and with the least side effects for YOU.

You might be tempted to try an herb that someone recommended, "Oh, this was so great! I started taking this and all my arthritis pain went away" or "I started taking this and I started sleeping through the night."

Before taking any herb or supplement it would be wise to check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure it safe to use with any other medications you are taking.
Once you know it is safe for you to try, you can be your own personal experiment. Start with a hypothesis like “If I take this supplement (let’s says it's melatonin), it is going to improve the quality of my sleep." So a week before you take the melatonin, you write down all the things about the quality of your sleep. You rate it on a scale—1 being bad sleep, 10 being the best sleep. What do you feel like when you wake up? Are you still exhausted upon awaking or rested? Irritable? Depressed? Are your productive? Positive and optimistic? Negative and pessimistic? Is your thinking clear or foggy? Write down all these different things about yourself. And then you take the new supplement. And then a week later, you journal on all these same aspects and see what the difference is. Now, when you compare the two pages, if it worked then keep doing it! If it didn't, stop doing it. But don't take things because someone else says that it's going make a difference. Some supplements may take more than week to experience the desired effects. In this case you would just lengthen the time do your follow up?

Sometimes there is a cost benefit ratio. For the money I'm spending on this, do I get that much benefit out of it? Sometimes people take things just because someone said they're good for them, but they're not necessarily getting the benefits from them. So, you have to make all these decisions yourself and be your own personal advocate.

Just because something's good for somebody else doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you. If it's good for you doesn't necessarily mean it's good for someone else.

Remember, we have our own unique chemistry, beliefs, DNA, diet, exercise, environment, and nutrition. And so, we all are going to respond differently to whatever substance we are evaluating.

No amount of supplementation is a substitute for good wholesome foods and exercise.

Author: Debra Kahnen, RN, ND, is the CEO of Life Mastery LLC. With over three decades of healthcare experience—as both a nursing leader in the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas and as a naturopath focusing on wellness—her view is radically different. Debra is a renowned expert in stress management and wellness. She helps people improve their health and emotional well-being to allow for more peace, joy, and personal satisfaction. Get a free special short video eCourse, "Take back control of your life NOW!, so you can experience more balance and ease in your life.

Article Photo: courtesy of Getideaka / Free Digital Photos

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