How to stack your supplements

Published 23rd May 2023 by PB Admin

With the wellness space growing at a rapid rate, a huge range of new supplements are being launched, but when clients come to you with questions about which supplements to combine for optimum skin health, and which combinations to avoid, it can be hard to know where to begin.

“Ingestible supplements leverage your biology to influence your skin from within,” explains Lauren Dewsbury, senior research scientist at Vida Glow.

Benefits of supplements

“The key benefit to taking a supplement is that they have a systemic effect in your body [as opposed to a local effect with topicals], meaning you are improving skin health at the cellular level.”

The effect of supplements is more than skin deep, as Lorraine Perretta, Advanced Nutrition Programme’s head of nutrition, explains. “They do much more for skin than just making it look good. The body makes 200 million skin cells every hour – cells that are not made from topical creams or serum, but from the food we eat and the supplements we take,” she says.

“As we know, the skin is the largest organ of the body and is a two-sided organ. Creams and treatments only do half the job by benefitting the skin from the outside. By adding supplements, you are feeding the skin from the inside and achieving 100% skincare.”

Dr Brent Agin, scientific advisory board member for supplement and skincare brand Monat, adds, “If we look at society as a whole, there’s been an increase across almost all categories of disease and for this, we need to look at lifestyles.

“Micronutrient deficiencies can be a contributor to diseases and a key factor to this is our diets. We’re not getting enough nutrients in our day-to-day diet and this is where food supplements come into requirement.”

What form of supplement is most effective?

With supplements readily available as capsules, tablets, gummies, liquids and even in the form of IV drips, it can be hard to know what’s going to be the most effective choice.

“It really depends on the ingredients in the formula and what you are trying to achieve,” shares Dewsbury. “Supplements can be purchased in a variety of different formats; however, these formats vary in how well they can get the job done. When we formulate a product, we consider the active ingredients, their bioavailability and where they need to be delivered to in the body – this will dictate the format we use.

“For example, for collagen supplements, powdered collagen peptides offer the best bioavailability and maximum absorption. However, other ingredients, like probiotics, are much more sensitive to heat and moisture and are best delivered in capsule form.”

As a general rule of thumb, “capsules can supply vitamins in the cleanest form”, explains Perretta, adding that, “Quality capsules dissolve within three-to-five minutes, releasing their contents in the stomach ready for absorption along with a meal.”

From activated charcoal to zinc, there are so many supplements available it can be hard to know where to begin.

How to choose the right supplements for you

For supplement newbies, Perretta suggests, “A targeted multivitamin plus a probiotic to support the gut microbiome are good starting points. Many people notice the benefits just from adding these two products.”

Beyond that, it’s important to have a clear goal of what they want to achieve. “Your ingestible beauty supplement routine should be based around your key beauty concerns or goals,” explains Dewsbury. “If your client is new to ingestible beauty, I would recommend starting by introducing just one product at a time and building their routine from there. This way they know what is working for them, it streamlines their routine and is kinder to their bank balance.”

As with any ingestible treatment, Perretta recommends, “For the best results when targeting specific skin concerns, including eczema, acne, dehydrated skin and pigmentation as well as lines and wrinkles, skincare professionals should be trained in identifying the skin condition and recommending specific science-backed supplements to synergise with appropriate treatments and home care.”

The best supplements to take together

Pairing up supplements is a great way to boost the effects and target multiple concerns. “Vitamins and minerals are not medications and combining them doesn’t really pose any great threat,” says Perretta, who explains the pairings in relation to food.

“When you think about food, it contains dozens of different nutrients as well as proteins, fats and carbohydrates, so the body knows how to digest and absorb them.” Your body will treat supplements in the same way as they’re digested. “In fact, vitamins like to work with each other in synergy. For example, vitamin A requires zinc as a co-factor in order to convert to the active form for skin,” adds Perretta. “The best way for someone to ensure they have all the co-factors for optimum synergy is to have a daily multivitamin as the foundation product for every supplement routine.”

Can you take too many supplements?

It’s easy for clients to get carried away with supplements – a gummy here, a capsule there, a shot to start their day – but is there a risk of doing more harm than good? “While supplements are generally very safe and pose little health risk when taken appropriately, you can have too much of a good thing,” explains Dewsbury. “Exceeding the daily upper limits for various micronutrients [like iron, selenium, or zinc] can be unsafe and lead to side effects, so it’s important to know what you’re taking and not to double up.”

She suggests advising clients to check the ingredients list on their supplement labels to make sure the same ingredient is not found in multiple supplements, adding, “The limits vary between different ingredients, ages and sexes, but there are Government guidelines available to help consumers understand the recommended daily intakes of various vitamins and minerals and what is right for them.”

Don’t worry if your supplements do have some crossover, though, as Perretta adds, “Overdosing with vitamin supplements is extremely rare. If someone wishes to take multiple supplements with overlapping nutrients, they should contact the manufacturers or their healthcare practitioner for advice. It may be advisable to stick to one brand as they will have developed the range so their supplements can be taken together.”

Before you place an order for every supplement under the sun, there are some key elements to remember, as Dewsbury explains, “Ingestible beauty supplements are a marathon, not a sprint.”

Adding new supplements is not unlike adding new products to your skincare routine. “You are helping clients to improve their skin from within, and this takes time and consistency. They need to stick with it for at least three months to ensure they are getting the most out of it, then decide whether it is right for them. Introduce one product at a time so they can clearly see what is working for them.”

Choosing your supplement supplier

When it comes to picking a brand, Perretta recommends that you “look for a clean label without flavourings, sugar, salt or gluten”, adding, “The manufacturer should be transparent about source of ingredients, sustainability and environmental sensitivity.”

Perhaps the most important thing when it comes to making a choice on which supplements to choose is to pick a brand you trust. Dewsbury explains, “Supplements can vary dramatically in their quality and efficacy. Look for products that are supported by scientific evidence, so you know they are going to do what they say they’re going to do.”

PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 23rd May 2023


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