28/07/2014 08:03 BST | Updated 26/09/2014 06:59 BST

Supplements- Do We REALLY Need Them?

Most people trying to follow a proper diet and nutrition can get battered with information overload when it comes to supplementation. Supplements i.e. vitamins and minerals, can be taken in the form of capsules, powders or in food. A visit to a health food shop can be a confusing and bewildering experience: hundreds of different types of vitamins for what seems to be an exhaustive list of ailments. Whatever you may desire (and whatever you haven't thought about yet) is available to buy- want clear skin? to handle anxiety? weight gain or weight loss?- there is a pill or formula for absolutely anything you can imagine.

I've been researching nutrition and attending seminars to try and get my head around supplements and what we need to be taking for optimum health. I learnt that when taken in the correct way, supplements can provide considerable value to your physical health- protecting organ tissue, activating enzymes that help organs to function optimally and helping to maintain a healthy immune system amongst other benefits.

If you are trying to support your body in reaching your optimum level of health, always start with a clean diet. There is no amount of supplement out there that can compensate for poor eating habits. Vitamins work best when they are taken with other nutrients in foods, to help release the maximum effect. But beware- It is important to read the labels on the bottle of the supplement you are taking as often they contain magnesium stearate. This has an adverse negative effect and can inhibit immune response (avoid!).

Vitamins provide effective results for various tangible outcomes, notably:

Energy - B Vitamins / Ginseng

Muscle relaxant - Magnesium

Muscle ache - Potassium

Bloating - Probiotics

Digestion - Vitamin C / Magnesium

If you are having any issues with any of the above, try taking a concentrated dosage of the associated vitamin for 1-4 weeks and you should start to notice considerable differences. Be aware that this is in addition to eating a clean diet and getting adequate sleep- there is no magic formula to override that!

My recommended daily multivitamin alternative: Chlorella Powder

There has been much speculation around multivitamins and their efficacy in providing enough nutrients- my understanding is that a cheap multivitamin is not going to help when targetting specific areas of physical wellbeing. Chlorella powder is a green powder also known as pond scum. It is a form of algae rich in antioxidants, minerals and B Vitamins. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties and can function as a prebiotic to support the body. For the past couple of weeks I have been mixing the powder with apple juice and drinking it quickly through a straw- It is by far the least tastiest drink I ever have had. However- I feel I have a new lease of energy since taking it- it has helped with digestion and my overall feeling of wellbeing. Bags of chlorella powder can be bought from any health food store at around £9 - £12.

Over the next few weeks I am going to follow 3 separate diet / supplement combinations to assess maximum effect on the following outcomes: energy, digestion and stress. I will be writing about these in future posts so stay tuned.

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