How do you know that you need the dietary supplement that you just purchased?

Last week, I gave a community talk at the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA titled “Dietary Supplements Examined”.

One of the questions that I posed to the audience was: “When you purchase vitamins and minerals, how do you know that you need them?”. From what I understood, most people did not know if they were deficient in a vitamin or mineral prior to purchasing it.

I recommend not to guess and to have a blood test that evaluates our nutritional status to know objectively what dietary supplements we may need.

This is a good place to start and there are a number of blood tests that you can ask your healthcare provider to order for you such as Spectracell ( or NutrEval from Genova Diagnostics ( *. These tests provide a pretty good assessment of your nutritional status, deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. But, you also need to remember that sound research on correlating low levels (not overt deficiencies) of vitamins and minerals with disease states is still lacking.

If you are low in a vitamin or mineral, my recommendation is to try to modify your diet to manage the deficiency rather than taking a dietary supplement. Also, keep in mind that these tests are not cheap but considering how much money we spend on dietary supplements that we don’t need, in my mind, they are worth it.

*Please note that I do not receive any monetary support from Spectracell or Genova Diagnostics and I am not on the speaker’s bureaus of these companies. My recommendations are solely based on reviewing the scientific literature and professional experience.