Do supplements actually work?

Medical Research Scientist and Nutritionist Dr Federica Amati explains her view on dietary supplements.

WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPLEMENT A HEALTHY DIET? 

Most of us don't have as healthy a diet as we think we do. A standard diet in the UK does not provide the diversity of plants and the amount of fibre that we know from established research, would be best for our long-term health. Supplements are not all equal though: extracting individual elements from foods may not be as beneficial for us as whole foods. Choosing the right supplement is really important—we don't want to flood our system with disjointed nutrients that are unnecessary.

WHAT KEY THINGS SHOULD SOMEONE CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING SUPPLEMENTS? 

Firstly, consider whether they are adding nutritional value to your daily diet, not just additional individual nutrients. Unless you have a clinically defined deficiency, most healthy people can get the nutrients they need from whole foods. Pregnancy, infancy and recovery from serious illness or infection are the exceptions to the rule that require specific intakes. Our lifestyles don't always allow for a complete and nutritious diet every day, so consider a whole food supplement, preferably plant-based and with plenty of fibre and polyphenols to help enhance our wellbeing, even on off days.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS? 

In order to get the most out of supplements, it's best to consume them with your meals to ensure they are absorbed as part of your daily food intake.

WHAT ARE THE CORE AREAS TO FOCUS ON WHEN IT COMES TO DAILY NUTRITION? 

Our diets also contain too little of the right thing - namely fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fungi - which once upon a time would have made up the majority of our meals. As a result we are missing out on beneficial micronutrients such as carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals and antioxidants. We also struggle to get enough fibre from our diets; an alarming 90% of people in the UK are deficient. Dietary fibre plays a vital role in the way we digest food and detoxify our bodies and yet the vast majority of us consume roughly half of the minimum recommended intake.

WHAT MAKES INDI'S SUPPLEMENTS DIFFERENT?

Indi is different because it does not replace meals or individual nutrients; it offers the opportunity to enhance our polyphenol, fibre and plant intake with no added bulking agents, preservatives or other harmful chemicals, in a delicious and easy way. It's a whole new approach to improving health and wellbeing for everyone.

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Dr Federica Amati is a powerhouse of evidence-based knowledge and information. She holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine Research from Imperial College London and is a registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition. She is also actively involved in nutrition, physical activity and mental wellbeing research at Imperial College London; and cardiometabolic health and COVID-19 and nutrition research with NNedPro, a global think tank founded at Cambridge University.

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