Supplements can provide benefits for your body and mind adding to your efforts to become a healthier, happier you. Adding a supplement requires research and consideration. As with most choices, an individualized approach helps you select what’s best for you. The DESSERT framework developed at Live Young, incorporates supplements into a broader preventative health strategy and we have conducted our own research on supplements. As part of a holistic approach, we can advise you about the best choice for you.

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The Basics
Supplements are just that- a supplement to more basic health choices such as an optimal diet. Thinking about supplement choices can be framed like a pyramid with basic vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D as the foundation and adding additional supplements as a tier above the basics- this might include calcium and magnesium for postmenopausal women. At the top of the pyramid are the optimizers, those supplements you might choose for more individual goals or health concerns, for example, niacin for cholesterol control.

Here are a few other ways that an optimizing supplement can benefit you.

Promote Weight Loss
There are several supplements on the market that claim to suppress appetite, burn calories, increase muscle mass or lower body fat. Relying on a pill or powder to do all the work will be disappointing. Some supplements can help you shed those pounds as long as you are simultaneously doing your part by exercising and eating right. Some that may be effective, such as alpha lipoic acid and berberine work to improve insulin binding. Others such as some fiber combinations are used to decrease appetite and slow glucose absorption.
Beat Stress
Beating stress can be approached from many angles. A variety of herbs, vitamins and supplements, such as chamomile and magnesium, have sedative effects, theanine (found in green tea) acts to calm nerves and melatonin promotes a healthy sleep pattern. Adding a supplement to other stress reducing strategies such as meditation, yoga or exercise may have additive benefits on stress and sleep.
Improve Skin Quality
You can reduce signs of wrinkles, discoloration, skin damage and sagging skin with active supplemental ingredients in the skin care you use. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, has clearly demonstrated improved skin regeneration, texture, color uniformity and elasticity. As with all treatments, what you do externally works best when you put in as much effort internally to maximize the results. Complement your new supplement routine with proper skin care, as well as treatments such as photorejuvenation and microdermabrasion.
Do Your Research
Although we trust supplements are regulated and tested for the consumer, that's not always the case. Health Canada has been criticized for its relaxed regulations when it comes to getting supplements on merchandising shelves. When it comes to your own health, it's better to take matters into your own hands; do your own research while consulting a professional. Dr. Sweeney’s comprehensive health programs using the DESSERT framework incorporate your supplementary needs in the context of a healthier lifestyle.