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Home Blog Wellness Are supplements effective?


Are supplements effective?

25th October 2017
Anthia Koullouros

Aussies spend billions on vitamins and supplements each year, but science shows most won’t improve our health. Some may even be dangerous according to this story..

I’ve been asked to give my comments on this in a radio interview today (listen to podcast here) – what are the ones that might waste too much money on and what we SHOULD be taking? Also, which vitamins can be dangerous if we take too much?
Here are my thoughts and considerations which may help answer the above questions.
1. Supplements are not a short cut to health or insurance against disease. The causes or contributing factors of disease are multifactorial meaning how we care for ourselves – hydration, what we eat and don’t eat, how we sleep and the time we sleep, exercise, pollutants in our environment  – what we breathe, what we apply, generally what we use and are exposed to, stress and genetics all play a role in health and disease.
2. What is the quality of your supplement?

Selection of the Highest Quality Ingredients Based on Levels of

Scientific and Clinical Research
Safety and Toxicology
Active Constituents
Heavy Metals

Ingredient Quality Control Checks

Microbial Contamination
Qualitative Identity
High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography
Atomic Absorption
Gas Chromatography
High Performance Liquid Chromatography

Finished Product Analysis

Microbial Contamination
Quantitative Analysis of Actives
Disintegration Time (absorption)
Weight and Size Uniformity
Moisture Content (stability)

3. Are they naturally derived or synthetically derived? Are they made from herbs or processed food ingredients? What form do they come in – capsule, tablet, powder or liquid? What excipients do they contain? An excipient is a substance formulated alongside the active ingredient of a medication, included for the purpose of long-term stabilization, bulking up solid formulations that contain potent active ingredients in small amounts (thus often referred to as “bulking agents”, “fillers”, or “diluents”), or to confer a therapeutic enhancement on the active ingredient in the final dosage form, such as facilitating drug absorption, reducing viscosity,or enhancing solubility?

4. What is the strength and correct dose of your supplement?

5. Are you taking your supplement in the right way before, after, during or away from meals? 1-3 per day?

6. Is your supplement within the expiry date? Does it need to be refrigerated?

7. Are you taking the rights supplement for you? A health professional will assess your current health status, deficiencies, allergies, intolerances, genetics, current medication and other supplement intake.

Supplements can be dangerous if taken when cautioned or contra indicated wth certain medication, other supplements or health conditions or when pregnant or breast feeding.


Iron can be dangerous if you have an Iron overload also know as the genetic metabolic disorder Haemachromatosis. The symptoms of this condition, such as pain and fatigue are the same symptoms for Iron deficiency. Too much iron in this condition will only worsen these symptoms.

Those with the gene profile MTHFR C677T should avoid folic acid in supplements as they cant process folic acid into methyfolate very well. The folic acid levels build and may become dangerous.

Choose whole foods, choose what we have evolved to eat as omnivores – healthy plants and healthy animals, balance gut health (our nutritional processing unit), seek professional advice on whether you are nutrient deficient, why are you are feeling unwell, and which supplements are best for you.