Multi vitamins, green tea, vitamin C, B vitamins, omega fish oils and the list goes on and on. You can walk into any health food store, or a vitamin shop and find shelves of nothing but dietary supplements. The picture above are my very own supplements that I take on a daily basis and have taken for years. Some other supplements you see there is alfalfa which helps to cleanse the liver, cinnamon that is a natural blood sugar stabilizer, and garlic which helps to improve cardiovascular functions.

Many people feel that supplements are a waste of money and have no true benefit but I believe otherwise through personal experience. Taking supplements in¬†conjunction¬†with nutritious meals have helped to improve my¬†overall¬†workout endurance,¬†strength¬† and not to mention my handsome looks :) ¬†If you do or¬†don’t¬†take supplements I would like to hear your feedback and take on it. Please share with your fitness family!

So why do people take supplements?

I personally take supplements to help ensure I am getting all of the nutrients my body need on a daily basis. It is also convenient for me to take the supplement rather than eating the food that carries the vitamin. Also being a vegetarian I have to make sure I am receiving adequate amounts of B vitamins, calcium and iron since these vitamins are found in meats.

Some people may also have the need to take supplements because their bodies lack the production of it. For example, someone may have a iron deficiency and therefore they need to take an iron supplement to make up for it.

What is the downside to taking supplements? 

Supplements should not be taking in place of eating natural foods. The bulk of our daily vitamins and minerals should come from real foods and not in the form of supplements. Supplements, especially depending on the kind can be expensive and may put a dent in your wallet after while. In my opinion, our health is definitely worth the investment and I believe we have an opportunity to prevent serious illnesses and diseases that might be faced later in life through intake of natural foods and supplements.

Digesting Supplements

When taking supplements try and take only 2-3 at one time and wait 1-2 hours before taking another one. The reason is that our bodies can only use a certain amount of nutrients at one time. The excess comes out through the urine and is generally darker than usual. Most supplements come in the form of a pill some small, medium and large depending on the type. Many supplements are now being made in powder form that can easily be blending or mixed in with water or a soft drink.

LJAY HEALTH TOP VITAMIN & SUPPLEMENT SHOPS

1.GNC 
2.Vitamin Shoppe
3.BodyBuilding.com
4.Nutri Shop 
5. Discount supplements.com
 
 
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Comments
  1. Dash says:

    I’ve got a daily supplement routine too, not quite as many as you but I always take a multivitamin, Vit C & Zinc and Omega 3 6 9 for overall health, and glucosamine & chronditin specifically for joint health – which I think is very important for runners!

  2. asterisk says:

    Personally, I think most supplements are unnecessary. I think healthy foods are far superior as a source of vitamins and minerals. The only exceptions, IMHO, are iron tablets and Glusomine. And unfortunately, taking supplements in large doses may do more harm than good.

    Kim*

    http://www.100days100ways.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/vitamins/

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Thanks Kim for providing a link your site and also the great feedback! You make a great point about taking it in large doses. Can be a lot of strain on kidneys when filtering.

  3. ahealthybean says:

    I take a fairly moderate approach… I try and eat as nutritious a diet as possible, but from time to time add in supplements to help me “cover all bases”.

    I take a b vitamin complex when I’m stressed (e.g. will try and take every day for a few weeks) or will take fish oil tablets if I realise I haven’t had any fish for a while. I also take a high dose vit C complex when I come into contact with ppl with colds, etc, and liquid chlorophyll if I know I’ve been over-indulging. My approach might sound a little scattered but it works for me :)

    I definitely agree that supplements can play a vital role in establishing or maintaining health – we give my dog fish oil for his skin allergies and it works a treat, while chondroitin + glucosamine helps my husband’s arthritis.

    That said, I also agree that supplements should be approached with caution. I believe people waste a lot of money on supplements they don’t need (where their diet provides those nutrients, or the levels of the nutrient provided in the supplement are not therapeutically significant). I also believe supplementing without the advice of a healthpprofessional can be dangerous, with people sometimes taking isolated nutrients for extended periods of time and disrupting the natural balance.

    I am studying nutrition but would still consult a qualified professional before embarking on any serious regime, or (as I do every 6 months) at least getting blood tests done to check nutrient levels, identify excesses and deficiencies, etc.

    Apologies that my post was so long! All the best :)

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Thank you so much! This is great feedback especially from someone studying nutrition. You’re right you have to take what works best for you and everyone is different. Supplements can cost a lot of money especially when buying them from distributors or marketers. Thanks again and I look forward to following your blog!

  4. patsquared2 says:

    I used to take about 24 pills a day…supplements of all kinds. Today I take a multi-vitamin – Dr. Weil’s – hyaluronic acid (from Purity Products) and calcium/magnesium – 3 pills. And I eat all organic, mostly fruit and vegetables, plain yogurt with wheat germ, oatmeal with almond butter. I’ve lost 42 pounds and feel pretty good,. And so does my wallet.

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Well first congratulations on your amazing weight loss accomplishment of 42 pounds. And second I think an all organic diet is awesome. I try to eat organic as much as possible but gets difficult to do so sometimes! I agree fruits and vegetables gives us a ton of vitamins and minerals we need! Keep up the great success and thanks for your feedback!

  5. AndrewGills says:

    I don’t do vitamins. I prefer real food as a matter of principle.

  6. Kimber says:

    That’s a ton! How do you keep them straight? I visited a holistic nutritionist a little while back for a free trial session and she mentioned that one processed daily multi vitamin is virtually doing nothing as half the ingredients they put in there you don’t really need. She also mentioned those getting the most beneficial use from taking vitamins take upwards of 5 different supplements a day…

  7. corinneb23 says:

    I take a blister pack that includes a multi-vitamin, a B+C complex, Carotinoid and Fish Oil Complex and probiotic. I’ve been taking supplements off and on my whole life (my family runs a Shaklee business) and I can honestly say that the most significant benefit I’ve seen is in my fingernails. Normally, my nails split and are somewhat soft. With the supplements my nails grow super fast, are strong and don’t split.

    I agree with your advice about taking vitamins throughout the day due to basic vitamin/mineral/chemical interaction, although if you’re a busy person it can be difficult to remember to take pills throughout the day!

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Awesome feedback Corinne!! There are true benefits to them and like you mentioned seeing your fingernails get stronger. I noticed the same thing and have seen my skin and hair improve as well! Everyone is different and some may not have the same reaction as we do! Thanks again for responding!

  8. Cheap vitamins are a waste of money. I’m a nut about whole food supplements. I especially like New Chapter Organics. It’s an expensive line but oh so worth it (and they are vegetarian which is important to me). Ever since I’ve started using them I’ve been sick less and my skin and hair has been fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that people who have known me a while have actually commented on the difference.

    • L-Jay Health says:

      That’s fantastic that you have seen major benefits such as hair and skin. I have also seen the same! I can’t remember the last time I’ve been sick or had to go to a doctor from not feeling good. I read a quote that said let food be your medicine. Ever since then I have eaten whole, natural foods! Thanks again for the feedback. Look forward to hearing from you in the future!

  9. I’ve just started a workout routine within the last two months and I’ve been wondering if I should also start taking supplements or protein. MY partner is a vegetarian and I only eat meat once a week or so. Thanks for the run down, I’ll have to look into it some more.

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Hi Evan! Thanks for stopping by. That is great that you are starting up a workout regimen. I would say you definitely want to make sure you are in taking adequate amount of protein and if not protein supplements may help. I mainly take a multivitamin and fish oils to help my joints due to running frequently! Let me know if I can help further. Does your partner try and get you to become vegetarian? Lol I’m also one but I don’t try a sway people to do so. If they ask about it I tell.

  10. Casie says:

    I do take supplements and it has helped me in so many ways when it comes exercising.

  11. I take suppliments but I admit I am not consistent. I believe as long as a person is eating healthy enough, there is no need to take vitamin suppliments. However, I believe if your body becomes ill, or if your immune system gets a little low, then you should take certain vitamins to help boost you up. For most women over 50, there is the strong possibility of the development of osteoprosis. So to help combat that, calcium and vit D suppliments should probably be taken daily. There are other illnesses that will require suppliments, but your physician should direct you on that.

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Thanks for the great feedback! You don’t have to consistent as long as you take them when you can. I am not consistent either but if one day I haven’t eaten all my fruit I will take a supplement or two to help aid my nutrition! Thanks again for responding, and having such a positive energy!

  12. April says:

    Iron supplements… always. It I stop taking it, my anemia comes back to dangerous levels. And vitamin c to help iron absorption. Sometimes the body is just not capable of getting the necessary vitamins and minerals despite having a well-rounded and nutritious diet, and depending on the person, that’s when supplements are important. Supplements are not a replacement for meals, but they are necessary when your body severely lacks nutrients. I get really turned off when people look down on supplements because they claim to get their minerals/vitamins from “REAL” food.. honestly, sometimes it’s really just not enough. Everybody is different and functions differently, so to each their own.

  13. Dawn says:

    I take a multi vitamin and from time to time I’ll take a supplement. Nothing beats eating right. I’m not a vegetarian but only eat meat 1x a week so I’ll take an iron supplement. Sometime biotin or vitamin c with flavonoids.
    I always include a probiotic !

  14. nancymn says:

    Taking a multi, a C and D.I have gone back and forth on the supplement issue. I look at them as insurance, rather than assurance, that I am getting what I need.
    And thanks for your like on my blog. Nice job you are doing here!

  15. losing50laps says:

    I take supplements too. I don’t see how a vitamin can be negative.

  16. spartanracer says:

    I think you don’t really need supplements if you have good eating habits. On the other had, since I stray every now and then, I take a daily multivitamin and fish oil to make sure I’m not missing something. :) It’s a big world out there with a lot of info telling you anything and everything; you approach is a good one. If the supplements work for you, stick to ‘em. After all, my lifestyle and eating habits are not yours, so your supplements might not work out that well for me.

  17. I take a multivitamin, fish oil, and glucosamine chondroitin. I’ve been taking the multivitamin for years, and the glucosamine made a huge difference when I hurt my shoulder, so I’ve kept taking it. The fish oil I’ve been off and on with. I’m not a fan of the fish burps that can come with it.

  18. U have an excellent, very informative blog

  19. I take a multi every day and a joint pill. I do not take much else, usually, because I want to get all I need from food. I do take the joint pills because of all my running and I can’t help but worry about my poor knees. Lol.

  20. WSW says:

    I’m working with a wellness doctor (after a prolonged period of intense stress) and am using a broad range of supplements to “re-set” my metabolism generally and my cortisol levels specifically. While I’m skeptical at best about them as a lifestyle, I can certainly see the benefits of supplements as part of a short-term program to speed recovery. And by the way, thanks for following my blog! You are my 300th follower! There should be some kind of party favor, but I’m afraid all you get is a hearty, and very sincere, thank you.

    • L-Jay Health says:

      That’s fine. Congratulations and your blog is awesome. Good luck to you on working on your metabolism. Increased cortisol levels are no good and leads to fat storage in the mid section which I’m sure you don’t want. Keep me posted

  21. Lindsey says:

    Great post on supplements. Supplements really are a hot button issue and everyone has their own opinion. I personally think that everyone needs to take their own inventory of their diet and assess their personal needs.

    I personally try to keep it simple and take a women’s multi, omega-3,6,9, and glucosamine every day.

    Keep up the great work!

  22. They say you are what you eat, but more specifically you are what you assimilate, and you are what you do not eliminate. Before investing in supplements ppl should definitely look at their diet and their digestion first. Are you eating what you need? Are you absorbing your nutrients? Is your diet so acidifying that you are excreting more minerals than you retain? A good Holistic Nutritionist can help you figure things out if you need direction.

    Living in my part of Canada means no natural Vitamin D production after mid-September. I take Vitamin D drops (5000-10000IU) every day until the spring and I take Magnesium Citrate since my body seems to need more of it than I am able/willing to get from my diet at the moment…

  23. Kristy says:

    Great post! I am the Associate Manager of the Whole Body Department (vitamins, supplements, body care etc..) at Whole Foods Market in BC, Canada. I totally agree, supplements have their place in our lives but should not replace a good quality diet. Thanks for sharing :)

  24. viktoriabk says:

    I take my daily multi and sometimes add more vit D, depending on how I feel. I know that’s the most toxic when overdosed, but I try to keep it within reasonable dosage. I usually look for more natural supplements and only take them sporadically, like BCAA if I train hard and don’t get my shake, or recently started taking glucosamine and creatine on days when I train harder. My joints needed a little extra help for all the weight training, plus I’m bike bound these days, more strain. I also drink Calm powder every now and again. I usually drink it at night, it helps relax my muscles and replenish my magnesium reserves. I try not to use too many supplements, always trying to look for a natural alternative, but when it’s not possible, I still want to make sure I’m giving my body all the nutrients and vitamins it needs to function properly, even during an increased workload.

  25. seekfit says:

    I’m of the belief that one should straighten out their diet before even touching supplements.
    As in if someone were to ask me about a supplement and I know they don’t eat their vegetables, I would tell them to start getting all their fruits and veggies each day.

    A supplement can enhance a diet, but it should not be the foundation of it.
    :)

    Very good read!

  26. I choose to eat vegan, so I take a vegan multi. Just in case. I don’t take it regularly though as I don’t believe that you need them if you eat a balanced diet & get some sun every day. I recently read a book called “bad science” by Ben Goldacre that explained that many supplements are known to do nothing, but vitamin companies often falsify results, or make sneaky claims that really mislead people into thinking they have a positive effect. (usually positive effect is placebo)

  27. I’m not a religious supplement taker. I’ve taken them over the years but overall I didn’t really feel a difference. I try to eat a well balanced diet along with exercise. I did take a multivitamin while I was training for a half marathon in 3 1/12 wks only because I knew I couldn’t keep up with the all the extra running I was doing. :) After reading this post, I may start taking the multivitamins and fish oil again.

  28. I prefer only pharmaceutical grade supplements.

  29. I find myself taking fish oil, iron and protein because those are the things I typically don’t get enough of on a daily basis (even if I am eating fish almost every day). I don’t take them every day though, I have an awful memory for that kind of thing.

  30. runoffwriter says:

    Hey, L-Jay…thanks for the follow! Someone above mentioned how informative your blog is…totally agree…just wanted to add to your list of the benefits of cinnamon…I’ve several times read in Runner’s World mag that it aids in muscle restoration post-run, as well! Keep it up!

  31. Great product. for gaining weight I typically use Eatmor Appetite Stimulant from VH nutrition

  32. having a healthy diet is great, however one must bear in mind that we cannot get all the required nutrients from food alone and therefore have to supplement. i personally am a fan of whey protein, and BBCAs especially before and after working out. A multi-vitamin and omega 3 and 6 supplements are also a must for me.

  33. Chico says:

    Good topic, but you’re not alone on this one. It’s something a lot of athlete/running bloggers seem to cover at one point or another.

    Having skimmed through a number (but not all) of the comments on this post, I’m always amazed at the comments about “eating a healthy diet” as being enough. Since most people aren’t nutritionists, how do they define healthy? The other part that kills me is many of the things we eat (especially processed) are anything but. Between the FDA and USDA, much of what we consume has been so tainted with pesticides, radiation, genetic manipulation, etc., that the nutritional value is severely diminished. And, anything that get heated in a microwave, you might as well throw away, as most of the vitamins are destroyed during the process.

    Like you, I do supplement, although it changes based on need. Given my age (47), I usually take something for the joints, Krill Oil (for the Omegas) and try to cook with the big three – Garlic, Ginger and Cinnamon, where I can, as well as, cayenne pepper for the thermogenic benefits.

    • L-Jay Health says:

      Thanks Chico! Im all about the big three! Cant go wrong with those. Have you always been into health and fitness?

      • Chico says:

        Sadly, no. Like many people, I’ve learned later in life than I should have about taking care of my body. While I’ve made some progress, I have a ways to go. Fortunately, my mother has been a health food ‘nut’ since I was a kid, so I’ve learned a good bit from her, and at the tender age of 77, she still knows her stuff.

  34. Jeremy Shane says:

    I believe the multivitamins at Trader Joes are whole food vitamins. Healthy and affordable.

  35. I take supplements because I have celiac disease and I am unable to get the nutrients I need from food.

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