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Dietary Supplements

Do I Need Dietary Supplements For Optimal Health?

Written By Katie Di Lauro • 3 min read

Should You Be Taking Dietary Supplements?

When striving for healthier nutrition, many people ask, “Do I need dietary supplements?” Answering this question is not as straightforward as saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’; it often depends on an individual’s current health, diet, and wellness goals. Ideally, we should obtain enough foundational vitamins and minerals from our food if we consume a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet. However, there are a few limitations to this theory. Increasing population requires more food, which exhausts soil nutrients in crop areas. Additionally, the popularity of processed foods, which often lack essential nutrients, has been increasing. Because of this, our food is not as nutrient-dense as it was even 50 years ago. Daily stress, inadequate sleep, and environmental toxins strain our bodies and health. These factors can heighten our nutrient requirements for energy, immunity, metabolism, and detoxification.

With that said, I believe most individuals can benefit from at least a high-quality multivitamin. The emphasis here is on ‘high-quality’. The US FDA found that between 2007 and 2016, about 800 over-the-counter dietary supplements contained unapproved drug ingredients. Additionally, a study published in JAMA Network Open found that “more than one unapproved pharmaceutical ingredient was found in 20% of those supplements.” Henceforth, I suggest using professional-grade dietary supplements.

How Do You Know if a Dietary Supplement is Professional-Grade?

Professional-grade supplement companies use high-grade raw ingredients that undergo routine testing for impurities and quality. These brands also avoid impure additives and are more likely to be free of excipients, such as coloring agents, preservatives, binders, and fillers, which can interfere with absorption and bioavailability. Another consideration is allergens; many dietary supplements contain common allergens like lactose, gluten, corn, or soy without labeling them. You might wonder, ‘How do they get away with it?’? Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate supplements; therefore, they can slide under the radar. Professional-grade supplements choose third-party evaluation, which analyzes both raw ingredients and batch products.

Admittedly, finding trustworthy supplements isn’t always easy and requires some research. Look for products that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), also known as cGMP, where the ‘c’ stands for ‘current’. Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) ensures that supplement manufacturers and resellers keep their processes, equipment, technologies, and policies up to date in producing and selling supplements. The FDA developed cGMPs to ensure that supplements are consistently manufactured and meet quality and safety standards. Additionally, consider looking for third-party certification programs to further validate product quality. Some examples of certifications include:

  • cGMP
  • ISO 9001
  • Non-GMO
  • USDA Organic
  • NSF Gluten Free
  • and TGA

Yes, this process can be a bit tedious. But, it’s worth it! To simplify the process, collaborate with a dietitian or healthcare provider who exclusively works with professional-grade dietary supplement brands or uses dispensaries like FullScript.

The Bottom Line

The decision to take dietary supplements is nuanced and depends on various factors such as individual health, diet, and lifestyle. Obtaining essential nutrients from a balanced diet is ideal. However, modern challenges like soil depletion, processed foods, and lifestyle stressors can increase our need for supplementation. Not all supplements are created equal. It’s imperative we opt for high-quality, professional-grade products to ensure safety and effectiveness. Look for brands that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and consider third-party certifications for added assurance. Consulting with a healthcare provider or dietitian can help navigate the world of supplements and ensure they complement your wellness journey safely. Remember, while supplements can offer benefits, caution and professional guidance are essential to avoid potential harm. If you’re interested in a supplement review and consultation or want to switch to professional-grade supplements, please request access to our supplement dispensary by emailing katie@premierfitnesscamp.com.

Katie Di Lauro, RDN
Director of Nutrition
Premier Fitness Camp

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