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The desire to improve and maintain health is a goal many of us wish to achieve. However, the world has become so fast paced that people struggle to maintain a healthy diet. Busy lives need convenience and accessibility, so dietary supplements have become one of the most common ways people attempt to meet their daily nutritional needs – a trend that started in the 1970s

Supplements are more popular today than ever before, “the global dietary supplements market size was valued at USD 151.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% from 2022 to 2030.” But how well are they actually working and how do you tell the good from the bad? Here’s what you should know when buying supplements to optimize your health.

The Problem

The supplement industry has exploded as interest in health and wellness continues to expand. Simultaneously, the market for products and services created to meet this growing demand is overwhelming and inconsistent. People are taking health into their own hands like never before but are failing to see favorable results due to lack of regulation and a wild west industry saturated with placebos and underdosed protocols Supplements can have adverse effects because there’s not enough research about them to truly know how much to take, what to take, and how to take them.

Misconceptions About Supplements

Supplements are meant to do just that: “supplement” your diet. Lucy Goff, Founder of the evidence-based LYMA Supplement comments ‘the industry tends to feed off consumer neuroses, rather than anything evidence-based. It wants to manipulate you into thinking they need to take a load of ingredients you can easily (and are best placed) to consume through a healthy balanced diet. This is why most supplement brands include a fairly generic list of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, when in fact it’s far more beneficial to eat nutritious, unprocessed foods, rather than pop a multivitamin which has never been proven as beneficial in the decades they’ve been around’.

There are some vitamins and minerals you simply can’t get from food. This is when it may be necessary to take supplements for optimal health. People with deficiencies may benefit from taking supplements to boost their nutrient intake, but keep in mind that these products don’t make up for a poor diet.

Health claims made by manufacturers about their products aren’t always backed by scientific research. Many people miss this. 

Oversaturation

The supplement market is bursting with endless options. This makes it impossible to know which brands use high-quality active ingredients. More choices create more competition. More competition makes it easier for companies to get away with using fillers and low-grade materials.

Lack of Regulation

There’s an expectation that dietary supplements are safe and effective. The multibillion-dollar preventive healthcare industry generates a vast array of products, but there’s not enough regulation in place that means companies have to prove that dietary supplements are doing what they promise. Although the risk of taking them is generally low, you shouldn’t assume that all are created equal.  

The lack of regulation of many supplements means no testing, data, or standards for the quality of ingredients, or that the products are dosed at the levels proven to work.  Lucy comments ‘you wouldn’t take a pharmaceutical drug at a lesser dose and expect it to work, so you shouldn’t expect anything more from a supplement either.’

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and according to that agency, there’s no way to prove their efficacy. Regardless, more than half of adults in the US take them, according to the AMA Journal of Ethics

Peer-Reviewed Studies

Unfortunately, what’s listed on a label may not accurately represent what’s in the bottle. Scientifically proven supplements can be difficult to find, but not impossible. When buying, look for supplements and ingredients that have undergone peer-reviewed studies. For approved publishing in medical journals testing has to reach a certain standard, be reviewed by experts in the field, and data must be compiled. Checking for patented ingredients is another way to ensure potency and performance. This further proves the efficacy of a product.

To ensure a product does what it promises, innovative companies are going through the proper steps to create new products to bridge the gap. Establishing guidelines for supplements is the first step to creating safer, more consistent products. The LYMA Supplement is the first and only formula in the world that is engineered with ten, peer-reviewed, patented ingredients at their proven dosage levels – developed to the same level and following the same process as a pharmaceutical drug.

Proper Dose

To really benefit from a supplement, you need to take the proper dose. The recommended dose you see on a bottle may not be the best amount for you and, due to lack of regulation may not even be the amount proven to work.. Some supplements need to be taken together to work. Others should be taken separately because they can reduce absorption. The bioavailability of a supplement is how well your body metabolizes and uses nutrients. This is especially important because if your body can’t fully absorb the nutrients, it won’t have an effect on your health.

Find an Expert

Big, faceless manufacturers are making supplements most of the time. Anyone can make a product, slap a label on it, and sell it. 

It’s best to look for something created by leading scientists, pharmacologists, and experts in the health and wellness field. This will also create trust between those making it and you.

Taking What You Can’t Get Through Food

You can get the majority of nutrients and minerals from food. But there are some you can only get through supplements. We tend to follow the crowd when choosing which supplements to take instead of taking what our body really needs. “The purpose of a supplement is to “supplement” your overall diet, helping to bridge the gap between your usual dietary intake and nutrient needs. Supplements, especially vitamin and minerals can be useful in situations when the demand for nutrients is higher” says Erin Kukura, Recreation Dietitian of UCSD. 

Vitamin D3 and K2 are examples of this. These vitamins are found in some foods, but usually in small amounts, making it hard to get the proper dose. Vitamin D3 and K2 are two things that should always be taken together. Vitamin K2 helps transport and deposit calcium through the body. Vitamin D3 helps the body produce enough of it to be able to do this. Without one, the other won’t become stimulated to do its job. Many details like this exist and the information surrounding how to take them is not commonly known. It’s important to consult with your physician for best practices.

Solutions

Certain companies have stepped up to create trustworthy, top nutritional supplements. They’re challenging what has long been the norm. Now there are options backed by science you can take at home, to enhance your own health and wellness.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the world of supplements can be challenging. Fortunately, companies like LYMA have been listening and are paving the way to transforming the industry. LYMA’s consumer-first approach makes maximizing health through reliable supplements possible. We can only hope that this is the beginning of a bigger movement.

Tricia Williams

Tricia Williams

Tricia Williams is a talented Chef recognized as a leader in the fields of Nutrition and Holistic Health. Some years ago, Tricia founded Food Matters, a boutique, nutritionally-sound meal delivery service. Closely collaborating with her clients’ coaches, integrative physicians, and nutritionists, Tricia was able to successfully tailor meal plans that met both their taste preferences and their health goals.
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