To supplement or not to supplement?

Alexandra Osellame - Bayleaf Clinical Nutritionist - BHSc(Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine)

To supplement or not to supplement? I get asked this question ALOT in my clinic. Do supplements REALLY work? Is a multivitamin a WASTE of money? Am I just paying for expensive PEE? These questions are complex and with so many factors influencing the answer, they cannot be reduced down to a simple YES or NO

Deciding whether to take a supplement to support your own or your child’s health should be made in light of a FULL evaluation of your health history, a comprehensive diet and lifestyle review, and take into account your or your child’s vitality and individual constitution. And not to mention whether you are taking any other supplements or medications (a super important factor that most people are unaware of). Nutritional research provides us with information about which nutrients to use and when, in what amounts, the best biochemical forms, and the optimal combinations of nutrients together ensure that the treatment process is as good as it can be .

Making this clinical evaluation and understanding nutritional science is something that took me years of undergraduate training to learn (and something that constantly keeps me challenged because every person is unique), so why would you expect yourself to know what supplement to take or to give your kids? Honestly, that is a big ask! … As a nutritionist, supplements are only ONE of the KEY tools I have in my treatment toolbox and I use them with great success with the kids and families I work with. BUT for them to be effective, they must be used in the right way and only prescribed if the case calls for it. ...

It is also important to note that over the counter supplements often contain nutrients in too small a dose to be effective and contain nutrients in poor biochemical forms as this is CHEAPER for the manufacturing companies. My hope is that you will read this and then think twice next time clever marketing convinces you to buy a supplement you might NOT NEED. Why not leave the decision making up to someone who can do all the hard work for you and save more time, money, and energy in the long run, improving your family’s health faster and more effectively.