Fitter, healthier, leaner: the holy power of supplements

Text: Lucie Clark

Overworked, oversized and over it? A supplement may be the answer to your energy, diet and health woes says #thefitpharmacist Holly Louise

As women, our bodies can do some pretty amazing things. From working hard, to raising children to supporting our families - it can be hard to look after ourselves as we should. Without proper nutrition, we can suffer deficiencies which leave us tired, stressed and not able to do all these amazing things. This is where supplementation can help. Many women underestimate the benefits of supplementation on overall health and wellness. From boosting energy and improving weight loss to preventing disease, supplements can help us target and allow our bodies to work efficiently and effectively. Women have specific nutritional requirements and health concerns at different stages of life and it is ideal to choose supplements that target those specific needs. Choosing a good health supplement should be an informed and wise decision. Some things to consider are:

Do I need a supplement? 
Have you had your levels checked by your doctor or naturopath? I recommend blood tests before starting supplementation to ensure you target any deficiencies you may have and to uncover any underlying health conditions. It's also good to know the correct balance in taking specific supplements to make sure that they work as effectively as possible.

Is a supplement safe for me? 
Do you take other medicines? Do you have any health conditions? Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects and their safety is not always assured in all individuals. Taking a combination of supplements or using products together with medications (prescription or over-the-counter) could produce adverse effects, some of which could be serious. In addition, many people are not aware that taking too much of certain vitamins or minerals can actually do more harm than good. It is important to consult a doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about the implications of taking a particular product.

Are the ingredients evidence-based? 
Is there evidence that the supplement is effective? If not, don't waste your time and money! It's important to do your own research or ask the advice of a practitioner or pharmacist. It's also important to choose a product with an "open label". This means the label should inform you of the names of the ingredients and the exact amounts of each contained in the product, the form of the ingredient used, the batch number and expiry date.

Is the brand reputable? 
Has the brand been established for a significant amount of time? Do their products have good reviews? These are important factors to consider before purchasing. The label on the product is also a good tool for evaluating a good health supplement brand. This includes Current Good Manufacturing Practice compliance, pharmaceutical grade production, as well as quality control measures. The supplements should be tested and analyzed independently for their effectiveness, purity and potency. This information can be obtained by contacting their customer service.

Scroll through for Holly Louise's advice on which supplements work for a fitter, healthier, leaner you.

Holly Louise #thefitpharmacist is a registered pharmacist, personal trainer, online coach and expert for Body Science.

Connect with Holly Louise @thefitpharmacist_

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