I have always taken vitamin supplements, but since becoming unwell last year they have become a serious part of my wellness plan. I say part because l also have to have a top notch diet, exercise, drink lots of water, have a restful sleep, practice mindfulness and try to have balance in my life. It takes a bit of organisation and commitment to incorporate supplements into your life. First of all you have to work out which supplements to take, then you need to purchase them, find a spot at home to keep them and finally, you need to remember to take them everyday. I am going to share my tips with you because l think l am very good at managing my supplement intake.
Deciding what supplements to take:
I believe this should be done in conjunction with a person who is qualified to give such advice. This could be a Medical Doctor, Naturopath, Dietician or Pharmacists as examples. Because of the complexity of my health problems l only take supplements on the advice of my holistic General Practitioner. The supplements are expensive and l don’t want any unwanted side effects, and if l do then the GP can review the supplement with me. I am in a few different groups on facebook and l see a lot of self prescribing going on which l am not a fan of.
Buying the supplements:
I think you should buy the best quality supplements you can afford. Be careful of some supplements that have sub standard ingredients, fillers or additives in them. I stick to good brands such as Thorne, Bioceuticals, Orthoplex, Nutrition Care, Mediherb to name a few. The practitioner prescribing the supplements will be able to recommend a good brand to you. Considerable savings can be made buying the supplements online. Even Practitioner only supplements can be purchased online if you are consulting with a qualified person and you enter their name as a reference. My favourite websites to purchase supplements from are iherb.com, australianvitamins.com and emed.com.au. I have had good experiences with all of these businesses and most have discounts for buying in bulk or free postage if you spend a certain amount. The holistic General Practitioner l see also sells supplements and often l will get the first bottle from her so l know what to buy and then look for a better deal online. Check with your health fund as to whether you can claim any of your vitamins from them. The health fund l am with has been very generous with letting me claim for many of my supplements as long as l provide supporting information from my General Practitioner as to why l need to take them. Each time l see the Dr she prints out a list of what l am taking and l send this to the Health Fund with my claim.
Storing the supplements at home:
I have a tray that l keep the supplements in that l take on a regular basis. I write the dose on the lid in black texta just to help me to remember the dose and to avoid a mistake as a lot of the bottles look the same. In the morning l just lift the tray out of the cupboard, organise my vitamins and put the tray back in the cupboard. I used to have them on the bench but seeing them all of the time made me feel like l must be really unwell to be taking so many supplements. I try to view them as part of my wellness plan which is easier to do now that l am actually feeling so well. I also have another area in the kitchen that is out of reach of the children where l keep spare bottles of most of my vitamins. I don’t like to let any of my vitamins run out before purchasing a new bottle in case the supplier has run out or there is a delay with the shipping.
Remembering to take the vitamins:
This can be a challenge. I link taking them with breakfast and dinner. When l get up in the morning l prepare my vitamins and put them in a small pill holder. I take the ones that need to be taken first thing such as probiotics, then have the rest slowly over the next few hours. You need to have consideration for your stomach and not bombard it with too many pills at once. It is better to digest a few at a time as l often feel a bit sick if l try and take them all with breakfast. Often l will take my pills with me to work and have some on the way and the rest at morning tea time. At night l prepare the pills as l am making dinner. I also have to organise supplements for other family members at this time so l have created a colour coding system where l put the other family members in small bowls of a specific colour or if it is in a drink use a specific colour straw so as not to get them mixed up. I have a chart on the wall which shows the person’s dosage and assigned colour.
It is important to take your supplements every day as prescribed so that they can support your health and well being as they are intended. If you miss a dose here and there you are just letting yourself down and won’t get the best outcomes.Taking supplements day after day can be tiring and often it can feel overwhelming. A regular review with your Practitioner is important so that you can reassess if any modifications to your vitamin schedule is required, as there will often be changes along the way as your health improves or a new condition develops. Remember why you are taking the supplements and have your long term goal in mind.