When should I start using supplements? I come across this question quite often. And the answer that applies to almost everyone who asks is as soon as you can. Supplements are designed to help you meet your nutrient needs by making up for what you lack in your diet, thus helping you fulfill your health and fitness goals.  Unfortunately, having thousands of supplements to choose from certainly adds layers of complexity. For most people, choosing the right product — let alone determining the best time to start using it — can be downright difficult. What makes an expensive product better than its cheaper counterparts? How do you know which one is the most effective?  Luckily, I’m here to help you with that. If you are still trying to decide what to buy and when to start, I recommend asking these three key questions:

1. Will my existing prescription medications be affected by additional supplements or vice versa? This is indeed a possibility. If you are taking prescription medication for a medical condition, it’s a good idea to check with a healthcare practitioner before introducing a new supplement to your body. Whatever new medication you plan on taking, inform your doctor about it. Aside from the possibility that prescription medication will affect the metabolisation of supplements and vice versa, you could end up experiencing adverse side-effects.

2. Could it be possible that the deficiency I want to address by using supplements is a symptom of an underlying medical condition? A nutritional deficiency accompanied by recurring fatigue and chronic pain may be the sign of an underlying medical problem. Talking with a doctor who has experience in treating nutritional deficiencies caused by allergies and conditions, goes without saying. If your deficiency is caused by an undiagnosed condition, it must be addressed prior to taking supplements.

3. How can I ensure my safety and determine the effectiveness of the supplement I plan to take? You have to get your supplements from a reliable source. To ensure that the supplement is pharmaceutical-grade, check the packaging and read the label. Make sure it contains the allergens you need and does not have allergens that will have an adverse effect on you. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor for advice, and read reviews and online about the product. Once you’ve decided to take the supplement, be sure to follow the instructions on the package or ask your doctor for a recommended dose. If you are interested in workout supplements, you’ll see lots of products promising to boost your efficiency in the gym and help maximise your recovery. How do you choose the right one for you? Supplements can be a tricky subject. It certainly pays to do your fair share of research before taking the plunge. Make sure the one you choose has undergone extensive research and lab testing and has positive reviews from trusted sources.

And lastly, once you’ve gotten past the nitty-gritty, and are ready to go on a shopping spree, please don’t forget that no supplement can ever replace a good diet. If you want to start eating more nutritious, whole, organic foods, feel free to check out this simple guide.