Do you really need supplements for a healthy lifestyle?

Many people regularly ask, “do I really need supplements for a healthy lifestyle?”, and if so, which are the best ones to take?

I think the reason that we’re all so lost on this subject is because the message that we receive in the media is so hugely confusing: from one side we’re told that supplements can help to ‘insure’ us against a less than perfect lifestyle and, on the other side, we’re told that there’s absolutely no need for them if we’re eating a well-balanced diet.  Confusing, right!?

I recently ran a poll on my Instagram stories which showed that a whopping 73% of my followers take daily supplements and, of those that do, 62% said that they were prescribed by a doctor. The same percentage said that they could physically feel the difference in themselves after taking the supplements

This tiny survey reflects a much larger one published in The Journal of Nutrition which found that of almost 3,500 adults surveyed, 70% use a daily supplement (either a multivitamin or individual vitamin or mineral).

So, in such a huge, and let’s face it, highly-commercialized market, which supplements for a healthy lifestyle do we really need to be taking every day and what are the real benefits for our minds and bodies?

Let’s start at the beginning.  How do you typically feel, and how do you spend your days?

  • Are you always tired and lethargic?
  • Do you struggle to sleep at night?
  • Do you get outside and expose your body to sunlight every day?
  • Do you follow a restricted diet i.e. dairy free or vegan?
  • Do you feel anxious or depressed?
  • Are you under significant daily stress?
  • Are you pregnant or trying for a baby?
  • Does your diet include plenty of fresh fruit & vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans?
  • Do you regularly eat oily fish and other ‘good fats’?
  • Do you eat a varied diet?
  • Do you take regular antibiotics?
  • Do you have a compromised immune system?

Your answers to these questions are a good indication of whether or not you could benefit from taking a supplement, but the bigger question for most of them is, and should always be, why!?

Why are you tired and lethargic all the time?  Why are you feeling stressed? Why are you not eating enough fruits and vegetables and how could you change your lifestyle for better health?

The question of whether you eat a varied and diverse diet is particularly important and cannot be emphasized enough if you’re experiencing poor health and immunity.

“You need to eat a balanced amount of all the nutrients to maintain optimum health.” – Amelia Freer

As I said, the first response when it comes to resolving your health concerns should always be to make the appropriate lifestyle changes and, as your Health Coach, my door is always open to help you with these. I completely appreciate how difficult and daunting this can be, as I’ve been there myself, and my purpose now is to be there for you and to help you along every step of the way towards a healthier, more balanced life.

In the meantime, while you’re investigating and making the appropriate lifestyle changes, supplements can be a very beneficial way to fill in the gaps in your diet, give you more energy, help you to sleep better, alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression and top up with some of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you’re currently deficient in.

I would therefore recommend consulting your local GP or, better still a functional medicine practitioner if there’s one local to you, to get your blood checked and start taking the appropriate supplements to meet your requirements.

It’s critically important to be aware that we’re all unique, and there is no one-size fits all solution when it comes to our health!! The decision as to whether or not you need a supplement should, therefore, always be taken in consultation with your doctor.

If you’re following a restricted diet or you’re trying for a baby the question of why is pretty redundant and I would absolutely recommend that you book an appointment with your doctor to get your blood checked so that, again, they can recommend the appropriate supplements for healthy lifestyle.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D falls into a separate category all of its own, especially at this time when we’re being advised to optimize our health to protect our immune systems in the light of the current COVID pandemic.

With respect to Vitamin D, all of us that are living in climates where we’re experience low-strength sun during the autumn and winter months should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms.

I‘ve written a full article on the importance of Vitamin D and why we should all be taking it, which you can read here. Also, check out some of the best supplements you can take to improve your brain’s health here!

Quality First

One final word of caution on this subject is to get your investigative hat on before you purchase any supplement and make sure you always get yours from a reputable manufacturer that’s happy to talk about their quality control procedures. Dietary supplements aren’t regulated like medicine so it’s essential that do your checks, and get advice if you need to, to make sure you know exactly what’s in them.


Sarah Huskie Nature Remedies consultant Sarah Huskie Integrative Nutrition Health Coach