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The Things You Need to Know About Finding the Best Supplements

By Dr. Molly Casey

Finding Supplements

There are so many vitamin and supplement options it can be quite confusing as to whether it’s helpful in your health journey. Not surprisingly, people have a lot of questions. Should I be paying attention to vitamins and minerals and my intake? Why do we need them? Should we try to get all we need from our food or not? Should we take them in the form of supplements or not? Is there any difference in brands and types of supplements?

Let’s find out.

To Take or Not to take?

Vitamins and minerals are required substances that the body needs to develop and function normally. In an ideal world, humans would obtain all of these substances through a well-rounded, non-processed diet that supports optimal health. In regard to optimal vitamin and mineral intake, this is not an ideal world for three main reasons -- the standard diet, food quality, and stress levels.

The Standard American Diet (SAD), or western diet, contains high amounts of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars, refined fats, high-fat dairy products, and red meat. This diet is void of quality substances and vitamins/minerals that promote optimal function, health, and healing in the body. Not only does it not contain the quality substances, it promotes inflammation and can help degrade/decrease the levels of vitamins and minerals already within the body. So it is working against your health and body in more ways than one.

Let’s say you don’t abide by the SAD and generally look to keep it quite healthy with non-processed, whole foods, and clean eating. The food quality, even in the best situations, is less desirable and robust as it used to be because of chemical additives and soil quality of where the food is grown. So often, even with the best diet, the quality of food is much less than what the body needs for optimal health.

Stress levels for most people, even before the pandemic, were higher than ever with a faster paced, busier life than ever. Chronic stress is at an all-time high. This stress wears on the body and its requirements. When the body is under chronic stress, the baseline requirements for what it needs to develop and function optimally increases.

The Choices

Walk into any so-called health store and it can blow your mind. The number of individual brands, combinations, and choices of supplements can be overwhelming. It is a money-making industry like anything else, so how do you know which brands to buy?

This process may seem a bit in-depth, but it’s worth it and it doesn’t take as long as you may think. Look at the company leadership, the company mission, and the quality of the product. Look up the company online and see what it stands for, who is leading it and doing the research for the company, and what the company mission is. You will either jive with this right away or you won’t. It will make logical sense or it won’t. If you can’t easily find this info, move on to the next brand right away.

You want to purchase a brand that is transparent about where it is getting its information and who is developing the product; this is their leadership team. You want doctors and a science-based leadership team. You want to read the mission statement to see if it resonates with you and also see if those themes or values seem to be carried out throughout the brand. For instance, if one mission is optimal performance for high-end athletes and you’re looking for an everyday multi-vitamin, it may not be a fit.

Lastly, read about the quality of the product by educating yourself on the ingredients -- what they are, where they are sourced, and the use (or not) of fillers. High-quality companies and brands will readily explain all of this. Again, if it is not easily found, take a pass on the brand.

The best quality supplements I’ve found are purchased from companies that have doctors and scientists in leadership, have a mission that is science-based and looking to serve the health of individuals in order to increase world wellness, and have organic/non-gmo ingredients with no fillers and little to no natural additives.

Where to Find Them?

Where do I find these preferred supplements? Well, it is almost never in a “health” store and definitely never in a chain drug store. Most frequently these are supplements that obtain an account through a doctor of chiropractic or natural health and wellness practitioner that is licensed. These companies tailor their products toward those with education and licensure behind them. Certainly you can purchase them online, but sometimes creating an account online with the actual company requires a practitioner code. Often this indicates you are dealing with a more highly reputable company because the products are not available at-will for anyone and their brother. These products do cost more than what you will find in local health stores, grocery stores, or drug stores because the product is of higher quality.

A great place to start on the journey of health, especially with vitamins and supplements, is to find a wellness doctor or practitioner and work directly with them. They can offer assistance in more ways than you imagine. Yes, both the practitioner and the supplement will cost money, but before you start griping about the expense, know that you will pay for your health or your illness, either now as a preventive measure, or later when you break down. You choose which one it will be!

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