There’s one company that will help you figure that out, and I road tested VITL personalised nutrition to see if they could accurately recommend specific supplements for me.
What’s interesting is that as a Nutritionist who’s very ‘into’ health, understands nutrition and the science behind it, and have been through my own various health troubles, I already have a good idea of what’s wrong, what to do about it, and what supplements help.
So I was curious, sceptical even, to see if VITL’s results would match that.
VITL have various individual high quality supplements you can buy, including Vitamin D, Omega 3 Oils, packs for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and ‘essentials’ packs of either two or four supplements that cover all your basic needs. It’s refreshing to see it really is just the essentials that most people could be low in – magnesium (especially us women), omega 3, vitamin D, and a Multivitamin and Supergreens supplement of food based nutrients. Honestly, these are all most people need, and anyone trying to sell you cocktails of pills is more concerned about their bank balance than your health.
There’s also vanilla or chocolate plant based protein powder (with no added nasties), and you know how much I love my protein pancakes and bowls of proats! There’s sample size sachets if you want to try them before committing to a bigger pack.
If you want to get really technical you can even get your DNA analysed, or take a blood test and see what you’re deficient in.
I went for one step behind that and filled out a questionnaire to decipher what I needed based on my own assessment of my health and how I feel. The questionnaire took longer than I was expecting, about 10 minutes, but that’s because it is reassuringly thorough.
Questions delve for information around digestion, energy, stress, mood, and sleep as well as diet and exercise habits and how much alcohol and caffeine I consume (and how I feel when I do drink them) and whether I’m a smoker (I’m not!). Far from being a tedious first step it was actually quite fun, the smart app being programmed to be chatty and informal.
Well that IS clever! I have IBS and constantly battle with a belly that can look 6 months pregnant if I’m not careful. And since while I rarely get ill and usually sleep well (and eat really well), the odd poor night’s sleep, working out, and the challenges if being a multitasking Mum mean it would be nice feel really, fully energised. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but remember those pre-kid days when your time was your own? Yeah that kind of energy!
The 28 Day supply pack of gluten and dairy free (always helpful) supplements arrived within a week (you can order a one off or monthly – handy when we have enough to remember already). My pack contained:
VITL’s probiotic capsule contains 8 different strains which is great (14 billion in total); you need a really diverse range of ‘good bacteria’ in your gut, so the more the merrier. It even includes Saccharomyces boulardii which many brands don’t; this little critter helps keep women’s yeast infections at bay, yay!
Many people consider Krill oil to be superior to other fish sources of omega 3’s. This is because, while krill has a lower total content of EPA and DHA (the beneficial bits), the type in krill is much more readily absorbed by the body. Added to that, krill has way more antioxidant vitamins A E and D, which naturally preserve the oil and stop it going rancid. VITL’s contains 500mg per capsule.
The important thing about most minerals is the ratios, since most nutrients work synergistically together, and the wrong ratio throws things off balance. The 2:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium in VITL’s complex is perfect. Magnesium and calcium are both needed for healthy bones and help muscles relax, so people who exercise often need more. Magnesium can also help you drift off to sleep, which is why you find it in bath salts.
A good spectrum of 23 different vitamins and minerals to cover all your bases, but what really struck me was the particularly high levels of B Vitamins for energy. B Vitamins help extract energy from the food we eat, which is the point right?! I’m up for giving anything a try that will give me an extra spring in my step, especially for the days when my monkey brain wakes me too early.
The pack arrived just before I travelled to Jersey for a week over Christmas, so the little packs meant I didn’t have to faff around gathering up my normal supplements.
My main curiosities were around the magnesium and probiotics. As an IBS sufferer I know not all probiotics are created equal. Some have fillers and ingredients that don’t agree with me, some have a blend of probiotics that’s not right, and some brands are just processed badly and are poor quality. I end up feeling worse not better. Thankfully I felt really good on VITL’s ones – no unexplained bloating or gas like I get with a few big brands on the market.
As someone who exercises pretty much daily, muscle soreness (DOMS) is nothing new to me, but magnesium is well known to help muscle recovery. The sceptic in me said maybe I was imagining it, but I’m sure I was recovering better from workouts over Christmas. Since it’s advised all the capsules are taken with the main meal of the day, for me this meant the evening, so the magnesium may have contributed to helping me drift off to sleep too.
Multivitamins and omega oils are not usually something you can ‘feel’ working, especially if you already wat pretty well like I do. You just have to trust that they’re doing your insides good, unless you want to go down the route of blood tests to assess results which I didn’t, and probably isn’t worthwhile unless you have something to be concerned about (e.g. a family history of high cholesterol or nutrient deficiencies).
I’m pretty picky when it comes to supplements I have to say, and regularly turn down requests to review products in the first place since I can see from the labels I won’t like them.
But actually these are really good! Everything you need, no wasting money on things you don’t, and even better: