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Ideally in a perfect world we wouldn’t need supplements as we would all be getting 8 hours sleep, eating our 5-7 serves or organic fruit and veg, exercising daily, meditating and leading blissful, stress-free lives.

Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world – lack of sleep, work/life stresses and not having enough time to eat well and workout regularly can lead to not eating enough of the good stuff and overdoing it on the bad stuff. This can result in nutrient deficiencies, which can result in problems with growth, development, and function. We need good levels of our vitamins and minerals to fuel our enzymes and biochemistry – basically keeping our body humming healthily.

Do supplements work?

These days’ dietary supplements are a global multi-billion dollar business and while more regulated now than in the past there is a lot of varying quality in the market. Practitioner only supplements are the best option on the market – these products are evidence-based, with therapeutic dosages, good absorption rates and contain high quality ingredients. Practitioner only supplements are available through GPs, nutritionists, dietitians, naturopaths and high quality health food shops.

Do you need to take nutritional supplements?

Ideally in a perfect world no, but even if your diet and exercise regime are consistent there are always days and weeks when your not reaching your nutrient targets. You should be able get a sufficient amount of your necessary vitamins and minerals from a good whole foods diet however the average Australian diet is far from that. Good quality supplements can help bridge the gap. Supplementation can also be good for people on specific diets, those that have dietary restrictions, allergies or intolerances, immuno-compromised individuals, the elderly and people on certain medications that effect absorption of some vitamins and minerals.

As with everything it is much better to see a professional for advice over Dr Google or gossip magazines. Some vitamins and minerals can build up to toxic levels or compete with medications and other supplements. To maximise your investment and gain the therapeutic effect (meaning it works) and ensure you’re not hurting your body, make sure you get the right dosage.

Storing supplements

Supplementation storing is of utmost importance – for powders, oils and liquids store in the fridge. The dark, cool environment slows oxidation, keeping them fresher for longer.

For anything else store them in a cool, dry and dark place such as a cupboard and make sure you regularly check expiry dates and discard old supplements. It should be understood that supplements are not an answer to unhealthy lifestyle decisions. They are best used to support good lifestyle decisions and ensure you’re getting what you need.