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5 Questions To Ask Before Taking Supplements

Written by: Lise Kiefer, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Nutritional supplements are a multi-billion-dollar industry with claims that they are going to cure your ailments. But do you really need to take supplements? And which ones are right for you?

woman choosing between supplements.

There are a lot of nutritional supplements that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Do you take a multivitamin? What about calcium and Vitamin D? Oh, trying to get pregnant, you need to make sure to get enough folic acid.

I’m not against supplements. Like anything, they have a time and place and can be used to your advantage when you know what you are taking and why.

Below are 5 things to consider when looking to use supplements to optimize your health.

1. What Are My Goals?

Taking the time to think about what your goals are is the first step to knowing whether you need to take a vitamin or not.

Generally, for optimal functioning for an average adult, taking a fish oil, adding a little more protein, along with a greens supplement or multivitamin is a good starting point.

Getting blood work can be exceptionally helpful as it will provide information if there are any gaps. As written by fellow Executive Contributor, Leslie Parran, there are a couple of tests you can take which are helpful in determining if there are any cellular deficiencies. For example, while I am good in my iron levels, it benefits from taking an iron supplementation because I am on the low end of the scale and have some issues with getting enough energy and bruising from playing a contact sport.

2. What Life Stage Am I In?

There are many stages in a human life, and it would be best to consider what season you are in.

For a young person in their 20s, focusing on overall health and selecting high-quality ingredients can help you live in your optimal performance while also slowing down any aging process.

An individual who is entering middle age would want to consider supplements which can help alleviate and prevent any decrease in joint mobility and functioning (think of hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, Boswellia, and curcumin). Some people in this category also start noticing some issues with digestion and find taking a probiotic can be helpful in creating harmony with their gut flora.

Older adults entering in later stages of life benefit from an increase in protein or EAAs to help prevent muscle loss (technical term is muscle atrophy).

3. Do I Have a Medical Condition or Family History of Health Concerns?

Having a history of genetic predispositions and conditions can also guide you to know the next steps.

For example, if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, there is some research which seems to support supplementing with Vitamin D can reduce the onset of symptoms.

4. What Is My Activity Level?

We know that the more sedentary an individual is, the less protein they will have to consume, and a multivitamin would be sufficient.

If you consider yourself to be a weekend warrior or engage in a high-performance sport, then we know that there are some gaps which might be missing. We know that athletes require more iron, zinc, magnesium, and Vitamins B6 and B12 and might benefit from adding them in if you feel sluggish or have a hard time recovering. Remember, blood work can be extremely helpful in knowing the next steps.

5. What is My Budget?

With everyone starting to watch how much they are spending and on what, this can be a major factor when deciding whether to take supplementation.

Prices can range from affordable to incredibly expensive and can cause financial stress if you are purchasing a lot of items.

If you find you want to try something, but want to be a bit more budget conscious, then invest in one supplement which is going to move you to your goal the quickest. I always tell people, focus on getting your nutritional habits down pat first, and then worry about adding in more as needed.

Confused about the next steps to take in optimizing your nutrition? Wanting to work towards having more self-compassion towards your fitness and recovery? I work with people to help create strategies they can do and feel a sense of accomplishment and mastery. Curious to know more, feel free to connect with me through social media or through sending a message through my website.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Lise Kiefer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lise Kiefer is a lead in fitness, nutrition and sleep coaching. After living an active lifestyle in her youth, Kiefer took her experience in sports and transitioned it to coaching individuals in their fitness, nutrition, and sleep so enhance her clients quality of life. Kiefer believes that how we perceive each of these topics and ourselves will affect how we perform in our daily pracitces. Owner of Toned and Tough Fitness.



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