Great question. People generally want to be healthy. I would venture to say that most people want to be healthy and do as little as possible in order to achieve said healthy state of living. We run into lots of roadblocks though on our mission to achieve optimal health. Genetics, eating disorders, work schedule, culture, lack of drive or ambition, social norms, personal beliefs, etc. Before we get too far, I want to be clear that I don’t think that it’s absolutely necessary to use supplements, in fact I would agree that the majority of the population taking them don’t even NEED them. It boils down to the reason you are taking them. For some it is purely preference. For others, it may be that they have a legitimate deficiency and they require more of something than the average person.
For example, someone who is experiencing problems with their skin and hair might need some extra biotin or omega 3’s in their diet. Of course, both of these are obtainable through specific food groups and I encourage people to always try eating your vitamins and nutrients before supplementing them, but there is a more convenient and efficient way to get these too. Maybe you’re a mother of 3 and work 50 hours a week and travel sometimes for work and having a well-balanced diet at all times is just tough to accomplish. Maybe you get these essential nutrients some weeks, but you have no consistency and as a result your health suffers because of it. This is a scenario where I would say maybe supplementation is a viable solution. Having the ability to control your doses and get them anytime and anywhere is a weight off any person’s shoulders.
Let’s take a different approach. As a part of your weight loss and workout plan, your trainer wants you to start tracking your macros (proteins, fats and carbs). He/she lays out a diet plan for you that requires you to consume 1.3g of protein per pound of body weight each day. If you’re the person mentioned above with a lifestyle moving 1000 mph, then eating that much protein a day can present some challenges. Especially if you are heavier and that number is north of 200g or more. This is where supplementing with a high quality protein would come in handy because as most of us know, you can consume a good amount of protein from a shake and not feel as full as you would if you were to consume that same amount of protein through a meal (depending on the type of protein). There is also a more efficient prep time and a convenience factor that comes with consuming a shake over a full-blown meal.
Those are just a couple of examples of why someone might supplement based on their lifestyle, goals or deficiencies. Some might have none of the reasons mentioned, they just simply want to optimize the work they are putting in. If you aim to workout 30 minutes a day and you want it to be the most rigorous 30 minutes of your day but you’re tired from work, you take a pre-workout to get that boost before you go into the gym. Maybe you’re training for a specific event and your body isn’t used to the extra amount of stress you’re putting on it, so you are using a BCAA (branched-chain amino acid) supplement to help with the recovery process. These are perfectly good and logical reason to supplement and very common reasons as well.
At the end of the day, whatever decision you make should be a sound one. You should always do your homework and seek out the best quality possible. The supplement industry is still very unregulated, but the FDA is putting more red tape in place for labeling requirements and banning certain ingredients that pose serious health risks.
Final takeaways: Always try to eat your vitamins and nutrients FIRST before turning to supplementation. More does not always mean better. Cheap can be dangerous. Expensive doesn’t always equal MOST valuable. Affiliates/sponsors get PAID to advertise. The guy with a 6-pack advertising weight loss pills had a 6 pack before that ad was filmed. Educate yourself. Become self-aware. Hit me up if you ever have any questions! Thanks for reading.