The health and wellness industry is booming and there are more companies producing supplements now than ever before. But, are supplements really worth the hype (and the price)? We’ll take a look at why supplementation is worth it and what to consider when choosing a supplement in 2022.
Do You Really Need Supplements in 2022?
The simple answers is YES! There are many reasons as to why someone could benefit from supplements in 2022, so we’re here to bust the myths and tell you why supplementation can benefit your health and wellbeing.
People are experiencing more stress
Whether it’s family, financial, work, or pandemic-related, people are feeling higher levels of stress (and rightfully so). But what does stress have to do with supplementation? Well, we first have to consider diet. When we consume a range of nutrient-dense, whole foods it is safe to assume that supplementation may not be necessary because the diet would contain the necessary nutrients to support health.
However, when the body experiences stress our digestive capacity is significantly affected. So, even if you’re eating healthy foods, the body may not be digesting them properly which makes it exponentially harder to absorb the contained nutrients. In this case, supplementation can provide nutrients in highly available forms that are easy to digest, absorb, and assimilate. With little-to-no effort the body can receive the nutrition it needs to deal with the effects of stress.
Foods aren’t what they used to be
We may not like to admit it, but foods simply aren’t what they used to be. We use pesticides and chemicals to mass produce foods. We select produce for the ability to produce high quantities, not for quality or nutrient density. Farming favours the easy-to-harvest, not the best for our bodies. These are all issues that have to do with factory farming and producing food for a wasteful society (which could be an entire blog on its own). But what does this mean for us?
Soil is constantly being drained of nutrients due to the demand of producing food to feed billions. So, the soil that once nourished our plant life is now lacking in the natural nutrients and minerals of which it was once full. For our food, this means less nutrient-dense produce, and animals (and humans) being given less nutritional value for foods being eaten. While there are small farms that focus on sustainable farming practices, it’s not feasible for most people financially to eat this way, or most farms to farm this way. What can you do about it? Support sustainable farming when possible, and supplement your diet with safe, effective nutrients to fill in the gaps left by our current diet/foods.
Our digestive health impacts our ability to absorb and assimilate nutrients
With the rising use of antibiotics, our digestive capacity as a whole has been significantly impacted. What many people don’t realize is that our gut bacteria play a significant role in digesting foods, but also in producing nutrients that help us maintain optimal health. For example, the bacteria of the small intestines are known for their importance in the production of B vitamins which not only help us in the metabolism of foods, but also our nervous and mental health.
So, when these bacteria have been wiped out multiple times throughout our lives by various bouts of antibiotics, each time our gut has to rebuild a fragile and incredibly important ecosystem that supports our wellness. On top of this, our less fibrous diet with the rise of the Western diet means less prebiotic “food” for the bacteria to live and thrive on. This can result in significant changes of our gut microbiome that favours pathogenic bacteria harmful to health and digestion. So, not only is the digestive process affected, but the bacteria that produce beneficial nutrients are fewer while bacteria producing harmful substances are on the rise – a triple negative!
How to Choose a Safe and Effective Supplement
Of course, not all supplements are created equal. In fact, some are even more harmful to health than helpful. Why? It all comes down to ingredients. While some brands maintain the reputation of safe and clean ingredients, others are less concerned with quality. Where some brands take the time and care to create supplements without unnecessary additives, other can’t be bothered. But with this huge variation in quality, how can you be sure that you’re choosing a good quality supplement? There are a few things to look for in supplements:
It’s usually a pretty good indication of quality when a company is open and honest about their production methods. If they are proud of their facilities, origin of the raw ingredients, and are happy to give customers a glimpse into the manufacturing process you can rest assured that they at least have high standards when it comes to cleanliness.
If you look at the ingredients list of a supplement and see a whole bunch of extra ingredients (apart from the nutrients claimed to be on the label) usually it’s an indication of waning quality. Why? Because all of these extra additives also have to be processed by the body. Not all of them have health benefits, and many are actually detrimental to health. So, one must ask that if the supplement has all these additives that the body has to process, is it even worth taking?
Unfortunately, what you see on the label isn’t always what you get. In many cases, the actual content of active ingredients can be vastly different than advertised, so you may be getting much less (or much more) than what you paid for. If you’re looking to support your health safely and effectively, this simply isn’t acceptable. So, companies with a good quality assurance program will test each and every raw ingredient to make sure they’re exactly as expected.
If the company and/or manufacturer has put the time and effort into maintaining food safety certifications, it’s another good indicator of quality. Because health and safety certificates are both expensive and time-consuming to maintain, companies that are more concerned with profit than efficacy will focus more on the bottom line than achieving a higher standard than required.
So, where does Aarja Health stand in all of this? You can find answers all over our website, or in our interview with Jani, our Operations Manager (*Link to factory blog). Aarja Health is proud to own our very own factory which was once used in the production of pharmaceuticals. Over the years we have maintained the high standards originally set out in the factory, and proudly oversee each part of our production with multiple levels of quality assurance and testing. On top of this, we’re happy to show you just how experienced our production team is – with their knowledge, dedication to safety, and over 40 years of experience, Aarja Health has become a brand known for outstanding quality.
Who Should Use Supplements?
Of course, there are some cases where supplementation can be more useful than others. For example, a generally healthy individual who eats a good diet wouldn’t need to supplement as much as someone with a digestive disorder. But, supplementation is a good way to ensure that the body has everything it needs for optimal health. So, who should use supplements? Arguably anyone could benefit from certain supplements depending on their lifestyle and health goals, but cases where need for supplements is increased include:
• Anyone with a diagnosed nutritional deficiency
• Anyone with a reduced digestive capacity or digestive disorder
• Those who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery
• People who have a restricted diet or those who eat a limited amount of foods
• Anyone who is wanting to conceive (especially soon-to-be mothers)
• Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
• People who eat few whole foods
• Athletes or anyone who has a higher demand placed on their bodies
• People who are frequently sick or those with chronic illness
• Anyone taking a medication that inhibits the absorption of nutrients
The list could go on and on. There are many cases where supplementation could be of benefit to health, and you must decide whether or not supplementation is right for you. If you’re unsure, it’s best to speak with a registered dietician who can guide you in what supplements are a good fit for your lifestyle.
So, are you going to start taking a supplement this year? We’ll leave that up to you!