Supplements are huge sellers these days, and the industry around them is equally extensive. As such… Most of us take at least one or two supplements every day for various health concerns. We might take them if we don’t absorb enough vitamins and minerals from the food we eat, we eat vegan or vegetarian and need external support to make up for essential missed elements, or because we have health or other issues to contend with. However, just because supplements are something we can typically buy without a prescription, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of obtaining or using them. Here are some tips you need to know to ensure you take supplements safely and effectively. Check With Your Doctor Firstly, talk to your doctor before you begin taking new supplements. Book an online doctor appointment or schedule an in-person visit to chat with a physician about how different supplements might interact with other medications you take. You’ll notice that you’ll rarely see any information about potential issues on supplement bottles or even manufacturer websites. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, though. Some popular supplements, including garlic, ginseng, omega-3s, and vitamin K, can interfere with multiple medications, especially products designed to help thin the blood. In addition, the effectiveness of oral contraceptives may be reduced if taking St John’s wort, and curcumin may lower antidepressant and antipsychotic medication levels. You should also know that some supplements support one another, meaning your results improve if you take them simultaneously. This is something your doctor can discuss with you. For example, iron and vitamin C work well together, as do fish oil and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Ensure You Need The Supplements You Take Since we don’t need a prescription to buy most supplements, the industry isn’t particularly regulated. As a result, people often end up spending a lot of money on bottles of pills or powders they don’t genuinely need. Don’t add supplementation to your body unless you know you’re truly deficient in the area the products address and that taking the supplements won’t cause problems for your health. In particular, pay attention to your blood test results when you get them done annually or so with your doctor. If the bloodwork shows you’re low in iron, magnesium, vitamin D, or some other nutrient, you can feel comfortable adding the related supplements to your diet. Also, if you’re keen to have a baby soon or deal with hormonal issues, it may be worthwhile to take folic acid, zinc, iodine, selenium, or other options. Regardless, though, speak with your physician about what’s suitable for you and the best quantities to consume, too. Follow Usage Instructions Closely Another crucial part of using supplements safely and effectively is following usage instructions on the labels. These tips aren’t there for the sake of it; they’re shared so consumers can get the best results possible from the supplements they use. Advice is based on the type of products within a bottle plus what manufacturers know about the specific combination of ingredients and strength used. This data varies from brand to brand and product to product, so just because you’ve taken a particular type of supplement in the past, this doesn’t mean the usage instructions will always be the same. Read the instructions before you begin taking a new supplement, and store the bottles correctly, too, such as in a cool, dark place or the fridge. Follow the directions around times of day to take items, daily dosage suggestions, and if products need to be taken before, after, or with a meal. For example, melatonin must be ingested shortly before bed, while digestive enzymes must be washed down at least half an hour before eating. Additionally, check whether the supplements you’re taking do not cancel out each other’s effects. You don’t want to continue taking pills and powders that negate or neutralize what they should do. If you’re already taking a supplement for a specific purpose, such as improving your gut health, do not add another one for the same use. For instance, if you’re taking gut health powder supplements like L-glutamine, there is no reason to add another offering the same benefits. Don’t Consume Too Many Products Be sure, too, that you don’t overdo it when it comes to supplementation. Don’t consume so many products that you put yourself at risk of getting sick. For instance, be regular with how much and when you take items, but if you forget to take tablets or powders one day, don’t double up the following day. Doing so can be dangerous. Consider if you need to take many different supplements continuously, too. If your physician has prescribed them to you, that’s fine, but if you’re simply adding products to your daily regime in a trial-and-error process, you might end up causing more harm than good to yourself. Following the above tips will help you get the best “bang for your buck” and not waste your money or compromise your health. Be patient as you wait for results, as supplements can take a few weeks or months to kick in. Keep reassessing your need for products throughout the year, too.