The Hemp Connection + supplements

How do I know if I need a supplement?

There are three reasons you may have a deficiency in your diet.

1. Your dietary choices are not providing you with adequate levels of a nutrient, or are increasing your need for a nutrient.

With PCOS, for example, if you're eating a lot of processed carbohydrates, you're increasing your needs for chromium, which is needed to metabolize carbohydrates. The problem is not really that you're lacking in chromium, but rather that your dietary choices have caused your body to use more chromium than it would lke to.

2. Medications you are taking may be increasing your need for certain nutrients.

Metformin, for example, has been found to increase your need for vitamin B12. If you are using metformin, (especially if you are a vegetarian), you may need to increase your current intake of this vitamin.

3. The disease itself may create its own unique metabolic needs.

For example, some women with PCOS are thought to have a variation in the way their bodies manufacture d-chiro-inositol that can be overridden with supplementation.

But throwing the supplemental kitchen sink at your PCOS is not the answer! There are a few supplements on the market that are"PCOS-friendly" combinations. But they're expensive, and they don't really look at you as an individual. Everyone's PCOS is different. It's going to respond to different treatments. It's important to have a game plan to avoid spending unnecessary money and depriving yourself of the effect you were hoping to have.

Here is my checklist for supplement game planning to be sure you're being a properly scientific detective about the process.

1. Take a look at your diet. Do a diet analysis and see where your most common dietary deficiencies fall. Is it vitamin D? Iron? Omega-3 fats? Is the deficiency caused by your voluntary dietary choices? Then do your best to correct the deficiency with food. This is important for two different reasons:

--You're likely going to need less supplement down the road if the environment you choose to put the supplement in is best able to benefit from having it.
--A supplement will never replace good nutrition. Yes, we do know a lot about the biochemistry of PCOS, but that doesn't mean we know everything about it! So you can supplement away based on what is known, and completely be missing the boat with what you need. Foods have lots of things in them we understand. Some of the ways they deliver nutrition and interact with each other, we don't. When you isolate, and separate, until breakfast is a lineup of colored capsules instead of a variety of textures, flavors, colors, and nutrients…

2. Identify what it is that you're trying to change. Better skin? Enhanced ovulation? Improved moods? Research how long it is going to take, with a supplement, to notice that kind of change. When you DO decide to take that supplement…take it consistently enough and long enough so that you can be scientific about how well it's working for you.

3. Identify the dose you're going to need. I cannot emphasize this enough! Even physicians are guilty of this. I'll ask a client how much fish oil she's taking and she knows how many capsules, but not the strength of the capsule or the dose of DHA. And that is what her physician advised her to do. Even if you're using food, you need to have an idea of where you're trying to go, if you're ever going to get there.

4. Add one supplement at a time. If you take one of these multi-component supplements and you kind of feel better, but not all the way there…worse yet, if you take one and have a reaction, you have so many possible culprits to try to identify that sorting through the possibilities is an impossible task. Pick one, dose it correctly, take it long enough to evaluate if it's working or if it's causing trouble, or doing nothing at all…and once you've determined what's happening, then think about whether or not another layer of supplements is necessary.

5. Don't base your dose on what your friend is doing for HER PCOS. Don't recommend to your friend what you're doing for YOUR PCOS. Everyone's situation is different, it is the farthest thing from one size fits all. You may be hurting more than helping.

I'm not anti-supplement at all. I just sense sometimes that it's easier to keep the responsibility for the symptoms outside of yourself if you can position the problem as being a deficiency. Owning that your own food habits may be a significant part of the problem takes a little more humility…even courage…but it may be where the most effective answers lie.

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How do I know if I need a supplement? + supplements