Supplements: Are They Right for You?

It has been estimated that Americans spend $25–33 BILLION a year on supplements! Now that is a lot of supplementing. Multivitamins are very common and probably the most taken across various ages and cultures. I did a search on supplements and got over 15 million hits on Google.

So, are they really good for you? Don’t most of the supplements or vitamins just run right through us? How do you know what to take? These are very common questions people have and there are many different opinions and answers to these questions.

I want to be real clear. I take supplements. I do not have any great studies to support my use of supplements. I only have my years of experience as a family doctor and my own personal experiences with the use of supplements. I have done extensive reading and continue to improve my own knowledge on the subject. I am in no way an expert on supplements.

So, if you are still reading this, understand these are my opinions.

I am often asked about the absorptions of supplements and how your body uses them. I do believe some of the supplements are probably excreted from our bodies fairly rapidly. If you take a B vitamin, it does not take very long (15–30 minutes) before your urine becomes bright yellow. So why take them if they get out of your system so fast?

My first answer is to compare supplements to water. Water basically just goes right through our system. But I have to believe the water does some good along the way. I think supplements are much the same. They may go right through us, but I think they do some good along the way.

Secondly, I am sure not all the B vitamin ends up in my urine right away. I do think it will circulate through my body and be used if needed. It helps ensure the systems in my body that use the B vitamins have plenty of it.

Which supplements should you take? Again, a very common question. My answer is: it depends. It depends on what you are expecting or needing as far as supplements. It depends on your overall health status and your nutrition. It depends on your genetics. I do not think there is a one-size-fits-all. A growing athletic adolescent is going to have some different requirements than a guy in his sixties.

I do think the first thing to start with is to be sure you are doing the basic things well. Eating clean will help your overall wellness and health more than any supplement can. If you are not exercising regularly, get started. Try to get 7–8 hours of sleep and drink plenty of water.

My next blog will be about my personal favorite supplement.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown