Is That Supplement Right For You?: 8 Things to Consider About Product Effectiveness!
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I received this question the other day: “I just bought myself this product, which I like, but it got me thinking… Do I need to take it daily? And then what am I measuring and how am I measuring it? Basically, what are some good questions I can ask myself when trying new supplements or products?”
To summarize: When we try something new, like a certain product or supplement, how do we know it’s effective for us, and what should we think about when considering that effectiveness.
If we don’t consider these aspects of usage we might just start taking a whole bunch of random pills or using products that are supposed to benefit us in some way, but we’re not actually sure if they are or if we need them!
So, okay, there are a few ways we can look at this.
First of all, whenever starting to use a new supplement, make sure you’re aware of recommended dosages, potential conflicts with other supplements or medications, and upper limits for intake. Talking to your doctor and researching on Examine.com is a good place to start for that.
Next, I imagine thinking about what you want to get out of using the item makes sense. Why are you starting to use that supplement in the first place? In your research or in talking to a doctor, is that result a possibility?
For example, if you’re starting to take fish oil because you heard it’s good for you, but aren’t sure what “ailments” you have that can be helped by it, or if it’ll help the “ailments” you do have, that’s not exactly constructive.
Alternatively, if you do have achy joints and don’t necessarily take in enough high-quality fats in your diet, a fish oil supplement might be a great and appropriate addition.
Once you know that the product may help with something you need, I recommend you start using it without adding in any other new products at the same time. Like, if you added the fish oil AND a daily protein shake at the same time, you won’t necessarily know which one may or may not be making you feel any certain way or be able to discern benefits. Give yourself two weeks of starting using a supplement before adding any other one so that if you do notice any positive or negative impacts you don’t have to guess what the cause is.
From there you can see what changes you notice in relation to that ailment or change you were looking for, specific to your experiences. Do your joints feel better as a result of using the fish oil? Are you sleeping better after adding melatonin? Things like that.
Also worth noting: Depending on the supplement or product, you might not actually *feel* any benefit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not helpful. For example, I’m currently taking a prenatal vitamin (and otherwise take a regular multi when not pregnant) and I can’t physically feel or notice the impacts of that, but know that the added vitamins and minerals I’m getting from it are helpful to me and my baby, or at least, that they’re inside of the recommended daily limits so they’re not hurting me. I hope that makes sense, and may be worth considering when judging your supplements.
Okay, back to it. Next, I also recommend that you give yourself time to explore what other results/benefits you may be experiencing even if they’re not what you set out to want. What other impacts are you noticing that you may not have expected? All observations are worth noting in this decision making process!
Then, depending on the specific supplement, it might make sense to adjust dosage or frequency of intake if you’re not seeing the results you’re looking for yet. (Again, certainly talk to your doctor about this!) Doses and frequency would be dependent on the specific supplement, because some have high ends you wouldn’t want to go over, etc. You can’t just take more all willy-nilly!
Also, let’s be real when it comes to products like this… some of them are just downright EXPENSIVE. So, it’s also worth thinking about how many changes/benefits you’d need to see to continue buying it. Like do your own cost vs benefit analysis… are you seeing enough benefit to justify cost? Along these lines, I also used to spend a bunch of money on a BCAA supplement… then realized that taking a BCAA supplement is completely unnecessary and not helpful at all IF you’re eating your recommended protein intake daily. I was basically throwing money away because I didn’t do enough research on the product.
And lastly, with all of these other suggestions taken into consideration, the last one is completely opinion based: Do you like it? Do you like how it makes you feel? These things matter too! Let’s say that you found this one kind of tea that is supposed to make you sleep better at night, it kind of does help, but it’s not hurting you and also the price is right, and you LOVE the taste. Then, as far as I’m concerned, it’s okay to keep using it despite the lackluster results just because you like it!
What do you think of this list?? Are there things missing that you ask yourself when trying new products? Please let me know in the comments or send me an email at email@example.com!
With this all being said, as a reminder, I’m NOT a doctor, this is not a recommendation to take anything specific, and you should talk to YOUR doctor before doing so!
As always, thanks for reading,