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Health Supplements 101


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Health supplements can be confusing because there are so many out there and the benefits and side effects of each are often not clearly communicated.  So how can we take advantage of the powerful supplements out there that can help fill the gaps in our nutrition and health situations?  There isn’t one standard regimen people should follow.  Supplements are very personal and customized health solutions that need to be researched before one begins to take them.  And the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro has many outlets where supplements are available.


Because I’m in the supplement industry and have developed a health supplement for stress-relief, people often ask me which supplements I take. Over the last couple of years I have tried many, and for my unique physical and mental health situation, I have found the ones that fit ME best.  That is the key to supplementation - knowing your health, knowing your body and knowing what will fit with your lifestyle needs.  What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.  Everyone's body chemistry is different.  We are different weights and heights. We have different nutrition and exercise habits. We have different genetics. Add onto those things our own personal health conditions, medications and goals for our long-term health and we've got one complex answer to what only appears to be a simple question. "What supplements should I take?"


The best way to start is to take a quick inventory of your current health and mental states. Where are there challenges? Do you feel sluggish or unfocused? Is your skin and hair losing vitality as you age? Do your joints ache?  Once you have talked with your doctor to determine you don't have any underlying conditions, take these challenges and do some research.  Talk to your doctor.  And on your own, hit the library. There are several reputable books out there that can guide you in narrowing your search of supplements to fit your needs.


Next, look at what your family risks are.  Is there a history of heart disease in your family?  Heart strengthening ingredients may be good options.  Is Alzheimer's disease prevalent in your family? Look into brain sharpening supplements and herbs.  And always talk to your doctor to help you narrow your search to the best available options for you.


Finally, decide what your long-term health goals are.  If you are training for a marathon, your needs are vastly different than someone with a more sedentary lifestyle.  Maybe you know you have a difficult work project coming that will drain you and stress you out.  Take steps before the project starts so you are in peak form to handle the extra anxiety.


As you can see, there are many factors that play into what supplements a person should take.  Some interact with prescription medications.  Some prevent other nutrients from being absorbed and need to be supplemented with additional ingredients to balance out.  Some may not be good for pregnant or lactating women.  So always talk to your doctor and remember that a supplement is exactly that - a supplement to a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle, not a substitute or magic pill that will make you instantly "better".  Do your research, know the facts and be your own health advocate in partnership with your team of medical professionals.


And once you have decided on which ones to take, where do you buy?  In the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro, you can buy health supplements at almost any grocery, drug or mass market retailer.  GNC stores specialize in supplements and natural grocers like Whole Foods have a very large selection of standard and more unique supplements that might not be available at large chains.  Supplements can also be found at some chiropractic clinics, spas and other medical and cosmetic outlets.  Find a retailer who has knowledgeable sales people who can help you with product questions and who have a return policy that allows you to take the product back if you experience any adverse reactions or you don’t feel the product fits your needs.


And remember that supplementation may require some experimentation to find the product combinations that are right for your unique health situation.  But in the long run, it is worth it and your body and mind will be happier, healthier and more balanced.


For more information about Happy Hour Effect LLC visit or to vote for “The Happy Hour Effect with Kristen Brown”, a stress relief and work/life balance talk show for the Oprah Winfrey Network, click here:


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