What do you look for when choosing your supplements?
How is it possible that you pay less than three euros for one jar of supplements, and that other jars costs more? The price difference is in the ingredients and their quality. Read on and you will know how to choose your next jar.
Let’s be honest. There are many supplements on the market. Maybe even too much. As a nutrition and menstrual health expert, I help women to maintain a healthy cycle.
When I first started, I often recommended certain supplements, but too often women came back with supplements that were ineffective. This was one of the reasons that we started developing our own supplements with Guud Woman. Opt for supplements with active ingredients linked to health claims. In this blog we tell you what active ingredients are, and what else you should pay attention to.
First things first, why do you need supplements?
Let's start in the beginning. You are healthy and eat a varied diet. Do you still need supplements? There are different opinions on this, but we say yes and we take our conclusion based on research:
- Only 5 percent of the Belgian population achieves the daily recommended amount of vegetables, fruit and iodine. On average, we eat about half of the required amount of vegetables. The average Dutch person does not score much better. Only 15 percent of the Dutch meet the recommended standard.
- The soil on which fruit and vegetables grow contains fewer vitamins, minerals and trace elements compared to some thirty years ago. Broccoli, for example, contains 73 percent less calcium than thirty years ago, and today there is 60 percent less vitamin C in an apple. Bizarre don't you think?!
- We eat a lot of processed foods (white flour, white pasta, white rice, white sugar, oils). This means that the important nutrients are no longer in the food.
- We have few hours of sunshine and are indoors a lot, which ensures that we don't always produce enough vitamin D.
Supplements based on complaints or your stage of life
But which supplements should you take? For this, look at your complaints or stage of life. You can also have a blood test to determine what your deficiencies are, and physical complaints can also be a good indication of certain deficiencies:
- Irregular cycle
- Food cravings
- Low libido
Stage of life:
- Want to have children
What do you pay attention to with supplements?
Do the supplements do what they say? That depends on what supplements you take. The Dutch Consumers' Association conducted a study into multivitamins in 2019. They discovered that:
- There is something different in every multivitamin. So there is no 'fixed' ingredient list.
- There are many supplements that do not contain enough active ingredients. As a result, the supplement does not work effectively.
- Sometimes a supplement contains too much of a certain ingredient. This is also not good.
Not all supplements meet the standards that are set. And not all supplements are of the same quality. For cheaper supplements, the cheapest raw materials have been chosen. So savings are made on the most important ingredients. Not really useful, if you take a supplement precisely for its ingredients.
So what do you pay attention to when buying a supplement?
Use supplements that can be absorbed well
The most important thing is that you take a supplement that can be well absorbed by your body. What does that mean? Your body is complicated, and all processes work together. Simply taking individual vitamins or minerals does not always mean that they are well absorbed.
Most vitamins and minerals work together with others so that the body can properly convert them together into what you need. We mention the most important:
Folic Acid → Active Folic Acid
Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin B9 (or vitamin B11 in the Netherlands). It is an important vitamin for the body.
Vitamin B9 comes in two forms; the synthetic variant folic acid and the natural variant: folate. For a long time it was thought that folic acid could be absorbed well, but this appears not to be the case. A suitable option is active folic acid. You can read more about folic acid in our blog: Everything you need to know about folic acid.
Magnesium → Magnesium Citrate/Bisglycinate
Magnesium is an important mineral. You can find it in pumpkin seeds, broccoli, seaweed, algae, spinach, bananas and cocoa. It is therefore best to spoil yourself with a piece of dark chocolate every now and then. Make sure that it contains the highest possible percentage of cocoa solids.
Magnesium is often sold as magnesium oxide. The body can hardly absorb this, and creates many stomach and intestinal problems. The body absorbs naturally bound forms of magnesium (magnesium citrate and magnesium bisglycinate) better.
Zinc → Zinc Bisglycinate
Zinc is found in the cells of your body. The mineral plays a major role in maintaining healthy hair, nails and skin, but it must be absorbed effectively into the bloodstream to do its job properly.
In order for zinc to be properly absorbed into the bloodstream, it needs a BFF that carries it through the bloodstream: the amino acid glycine. By using this type of zinc (zinc bisglycinate), we know for sure that your intestines absorb it well.
Omega 3 → Vegan Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are 3 types:
- Alpha linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Omega 3 is important for your heart, brain and eyes, and good for pregnant women and vegans. ALA is plant-based, and EPA and DHA are found in oily fish.
For vegans, taking extra Omega 3 is therefore a bit more difficult – if you look at the traditional supplements, that is. Choose supplmentens with fatty acids from algae.
Here's the thing: If you eat fish, you're getting DHA and EPA. But, that's really only because the fish got it through the food, algae. So why not skip the fish, and use the algae right away! Algae are not animals, but seaweed. And instead of bovine gelatin for the casings of our supplements, opt for hydroxypropyl cellulose. This is made from cellulose. It is an important, multiple sugar in wood and in plants.
1. Food Allergy and Intolerance
A good supplement contains as few excipients as possible and is as free as possible from allergy triggers. These are ingredients like:
yeast, gluten, corn, lactose, soy, colourings & flavourings
All our Guud supplements are free of gluten, wheat and lactose. In addition, they are free of preservatives, added sugars and artificial colors.
All our supplements are made in Belgium and are approved by the FAVV and contain a notification number. A notification number guarantees that the product complies with all Belgian regulations.
3. Fillers and Whiteners
In many food supplements you will also find silicon and titanium dioxide (E551 and E171), and magnesium stearate. These substances are used to better fill the capsules and to make them white.
We do not use silicon and titanium dioxide, because the EFSA (European Food & Safety Agency) no longer considers these substances safe because they can damage DNA.
As a natural alternative we use rice concentrate, rice starch and transparent HPMC capsules.
4. The recommended daily amount
Finally, stick to the recommended daily amount, and don't take more than that. Some supplements can have the opposite effect because of this. Also make sure that you do not randomly use different supplements together.
Guud fan Kaat talks about how important good ingredients are to her
Kaat is one of our Guud Ambassadors. Together with her sister Marie, she runs The Mocktail Club. They make delicious natural non-alcoholic cocktails. Kaat also knows how important good ingredients are: “We only want the best of the best for all our customers of The Mocktail Club. That is why we only work with refined, natural ingredients of the highest quality.” And that is of course what Kaat expects from the supplements she takes.
Do you have any questions? Contact me, I'll be happy to help you!
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