Why do you want to take this? What benefit do you hope to get? Sometimes you may read someting online or in a magazine that makes you think you would benefit from adding a supplement. Perhaps your midwife has suggested you add a supplement. You should understand the reasons for taking any supplement and what the benefits are so you can monitor to see if you are actually getting the expected benefit from a supplement.
Are there reasons not to take the supplement? What are the potential risks? There may be reasons not to take a supplement. For instance, if you have a sea food allergy, Spirulina is something you should avoid. Another reason may be that a supplement may have a serious interaction with a medication you are already taking. Adding a baby aspirin to your daily nutirtion regimin may not be wise if you are already taking garlic since they both have blood thinning properties.
What supplement dose is appropriate for you? Flouride can be beneficial in small doeses, but high doses of floride can cause several issues including heart arhythmias. Selenium is another supplement you can take too much of, causing hair loss among other effects. Be aware of the proper dosing and remember, too much of a good thing can have damaging effects.
Have you discussed using the supplement with a health care provider? It is important to talk with your health care provider about your supplements. Some over the counter supplements can interact with prescription medicines. For instance if you are taking Levothyroxine, there can be risks to taking an over the counter decongestant. In pregnancy, some supplements may not be wise to use, or only used in the last trimester.
Can you get the supplement benefit through nutrition changes or tweaks? The best source for nutrients is from whole food sources. If you are experiencing low iron levels, you may want to try eating liver, spinach or more red meats before adding a supplement. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts. Broccoli has more calcium per serving than milk. Consider if dietary changes or tweaks will provide the nutirients you want to add through a supplement.
How will you know if you are getting the benefits you are looking for from the supplement? If you are supplementing for something measurable such as taking iron to raise hemoglobin levels, having labs drawn is one of the more accurate ways to know if you are getting the benefits. Keeping a journal of how you are feeling, and what changes you are observing is another way to determine if you are benefiting from a supplement.
Supplements can be great, or they can be detrimental so do your research before adding in something new.