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Supplement Do’s and Don’ts From A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Lifestyle, Supplements

No matter how healthily we eat, sometimes it’s necessary to supplement our diet to give us the additional nutrients we need. 

There are a couple major reasons why. First, the nutrient density of our food supply is not what it used to be 30 years ago due to the changes in our climate and modern agriculture practices that have depleted our once nutrient-rich soil. Also, as Americans, we succumb to convenience foods more often than cooking whole foods from scratch, so this leaves another void in our nutrient intake.

Here are my supplement do’s and don’ts. P.S. These tips are coming straight from a registered dietitian nutritionist! 

What Are Supplements?

A dietary supplement provides nutrients that may otherwise not be consumed in sufficient quantities through food; for example, vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids or other nutritional substances. Supplements are usually ingested in capsule, tablet, chewable “gummy,” powder, or liquid form.

Do I Need Supplements?

What I always tell my clients is DON’T GUESS WITH YOUR HEALTH! So many tell me they take supplements because they saw an ad on TV or a friend is taking them and said they should, too. Before jumping into taking supplements, you have to know your micronutrient levels! GET TESTED! 

A simple blood test can reveal if you are getting the nutrients you need. Even if you eat a balanced diet, exercise and take a multivitamin, you still may be deficient. Your levels are affected by aging, lifestyle, biochemical individuality, absorption, and chronic illness. 

Are Nutraceuticals The Same As Supplements?

A nutraceutical is a food containing a health giving additive that has a medical benefit.   The term “nutraceutical” was coined from “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” in 1989 by Stephen DeFelice, MD, who was founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine. He defined nutraceutical as a food (or part of a food) that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease.

Nutraceuticals differ from dietary supplements in the following aspects:

  • Nutraceuticals must not only supplement the diet but should also aid in the prevention and/or treatment of disease and/or disorder
  • Nutraceuticals are used as conventional foods or as sole items of a meal or diet. Examples of nutraceuticals include fortified dairy products (e.g., milk) and citrus fruits (e.g., orange juice)

In addition to eating a healthy diet, you may benefit from dietary supplements and/or nutraceuticals, but get tested to know for sure. Why waste your money on something that’s unnecessary?

How Do I Choose Quality Supplements?

Labels can be so confusing! How can you feel confident that what you are spending your money on is actually in the bottle? You want to be confident knowing what you are taking is potent enough and it is free of toxins and fillers. There’s no point in spending money on these additional products if they’re not going to work, and could even harm you.

  1. Look for USP or NSF on the label to know that it has been tested by a 3rd party company
  2. Call the 1-800 number on the bottle and ask them to email you their Statement of Quality 
  3. Ask a dietitian (like me!). We have access to high quality, practitioner grade supplements for our clients that are not available to  the average consumer.  We have already vetted them for you. 

Check out my FullScript page for a list of all of my quality supplements.

What Foods Can Take The Place of Common Supplements?

If you’re not too keen on starting up with supplements just yet, here are some foods that can take the place of common supplements.

  • Calcium –  Broccoli, Kale, Almonds, Tofu, Milk and Cheese
  • Magnesium – Nuts, Avocado, Seeds, Banana, and Dark Chocolate
  • Vitamin D – Fish, Egg Yolks, 30 minutes of mid-day sun
  • Vitamin C – Leafy greens, Bell pepper, Strawberries, and Oranges
  • Iron – Spinach, Legumes, Red Meat, Pumpkin Seeds, Quinoa, Turkey, Broccoli, Tofu
  • Omega 3 – Fish, Walnuts, Flax Seed, Chia Seed, Hemp
  • B12 – Clams, Sardines, Beef, Tuna, Nutritional Yeast, Trout, Salmon

If you’re already eating many of these foods and are curious if your micronutrient levels are optimal for you to live with more energy and vitality, message me.

September Special – Micronutrient Test

Are you interested in learning about your micronutrient levels to see if you would benefit from adding supplements into your routine? 

This month, I’m offering this very comprehensive micronutrient test from Spectracell. After taking the test, you’ll know your levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, carbohydrate metabolism, and immune function – PLUS, a review session with me – for only $597.

A lab tech conveniently comes to your home or office to do the blood draw, and on our Zoom call, I will provide personalized recommendations for food and supplements to meet your nutrient needs.

Reach out to me at angela@vitalandwell.com to get started.


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angela sitting outdoors on laptop eating healthy foods

About the Author

Angela is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), board-certified health coach and trained yoga teacher who helps clients achieve a healthy weight and gain control over their GI distress.

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