Confused about supplements?


You may have watched the recent Horizon programme that investigated whether supplements are unnecessary or even dangerous. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary that very much supports the use of supplements. However, supplements can potentially be unsafe if you don’t know what you’re doing – which is why it is best not to self prescribe but to seek the advice of a registered Nutritional Therapist who is trained to use them effectively and safely.


In the Horizon programme, Dr Giles Yeo argued that most people weren’t really deficient in vitamins and minerals and can get most of their nutrients from a balanced, diet, even take-aways and curly fries! His argument ignores the widespread evidence from recent National Diet and Nutrition Surveys that a large proportion of UK adults may not be achieving adequate vitamin and mineral levels, because they do not follow healthy diet guidelines. Even if those foods mentioned eg. curly fries contain some nutrients, it ignores the effect of eating a high calorie, high sugar processed diet on depleting those nutrients and negatively affecting health in potentially numerous detrimental ways that were not mentioned in the programme.


Ultimately, our nutritional needs are complex, unique and supplements should be suitable to those needs. Multiple studies have shown that in the right hands supplements are safe and beneficial ways of supporting our health. I have seen numerous people whose symptoms improve significantly with the support of specific, targeted, high quality supplements, in addition to a healthy diet. The statement below from BANT highlights why it is important to have the guidance of a fully trained practitioner when using them.



Following publication of research by the University of Hertfordshire, highlighting the possible risks of combining prescription medication with food and herbal supplements, BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) confirms that supplementation of vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies should only be taken following a consultation with a health professional, who has been trained specifically in this area.


BANT Registered Nutritional Therapists are specifically trained to recommend quality supplements to individuals where indicated, only after thorough assessment of case history, prescription medications and any relevant test results. BANT Nutrition Practitioners are, in particular, trained in supplement/medication interactions and are professionally insured to recommend supplements.