Do supplements work
PUBLISHED: 10:54 13 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:40 20 February 2013
Elizabeth Barnett talks to leading nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston to cut through the jargon and find out once and for all if supplements really work
With a fully established practice on Londons Harley Street and a new clinic in the New Forest, Yvonne Bishop-Weston is more than qualified to offer her advice when it comes to the world of supplements. Having been a nutritionist for over eight years she explains just how vital it is that we give our bodies the nutrients it needs to survive.
How much should I spend?
Like most things, the price of a supplement reflects the quality of the product. It can be a huge waste of money to switch between the cheaper brands as most prove to hold such a small dosage that you will barely notice a difference. Ingredients such as mercury and talcum powder have been found in some supplements as binders and it can be dangerous to experiment without speaking to your doctor first. The more you pay the purer they will be.
What to take
When your immune system is low, especially during the winter months, it is essential to take vitamin D. Our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun but with working hours and a lack of sunshine in the UK its impossible to get the levels that we need. Vitamin D will act as an anti-oxidant, will keep bones healthy and will boost your immune system. Vitamin C is another great supplement to take as long as you are taking a minimum of 1000 mg, anything less will not have much of an impact. Women that are taking the contraceptive pill should consult their doctors before taking vitamin C as it can reduce effectiveness.
Hair, skin and nails
Omega-3 is the best way to keep your skin, hair and nails looking healthy and is best found in oily fish or fish oil supplements. When looking for the right omega-3 supplements, make sure you opt for one that has high purity levels such as Nutris Eskimo-3 (from 13.59 for 105 capsules).
Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM and Glucosamine chondroitin are fantastic supplements to take for those that experience stiff or painful joints. Together they help to support the production of cartilage in the body, which will strengthen your joints, and MSM combats the inflammation by detoxifying any contaminated cells within your body.
Youre constantly at risk of attracting bacteria in your gut as it is the only part of the body that is open to the outside world so a digestive enzyme or pro-biotic that is designed to produce good bacteria will fight any risk of infection.
Look for a combination strain that clearly sates it will colonise in your gut, as this will encourage the body to continue to re-produce.
Where to shop
Yvonne suggests it is better to buy from local independent health stores as their products will be determined by effectiveness and customer feedback. By doing this you are also supporting your local businessmen/women who will be able to offer specialist advice. Find out where your nearest store is at www.nahs.co.uk or call 01875 341408.