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An Expert Explains Everything You Need To Know About Health Supplements

Written By: Lakshmi Nayar

An Expert Explains Everything You Need To Know About Health Supplements

When it comes to shopping for your supplements, you’re spoilt with an influx of options labeled with exaggerated claims: Feel Better! For Longevity! More Energy!. But the real question is, what are supplements, to begin with, how much of these promises should you believe and how much should you really be self-prescribing? “It’s important to understand that supplements are meant to add value to your diet and not really replace your food. Don’t consider them as some sort of miracle pill or a train ticket to a bullet-proof buddy. Supplementation needs to be coupled with a healthy lifestyle to help optimize the results,” says nutrition consultant and founder of Burgers To Beasts, Kripa Jalan.

“While we survived without capsules, powders, potions for decades, in the modern world, we don’t breathe clean air, get adequate sunlight, or even sleep enough. So, they’re great at filling gaps in your diet with nutrients that you necessarily may not get in your daily food intake,” Jalan confirms. While the demand for supplements and the curiosity around them continue to grow, Kripa Jalan speaks further on the subject including her top recommendations, common myths, and what to keep in mind while choosing your supplements. 

Vitamin D3

“Supplementation differs by need and not want. For instance, a 55 year old elderly individual might take supplements to stabilise his or her blood sugar or maintain energy levels throughout the day, versus an 18 year old female athlete who may require an entirely different dose. But there’s definitely a baseline stack of supplements that most people can benefit from. I see Vitamin D3 as a very promising supplement. Indians by default are Vitamin d3 deficient. Our skin is not very efficient at converting sunlight into the benefits of vitamins—especially with the current lockdown scenario we are not exposed to enough sunlight,” she explains.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can boost your body’s blood antioxidant levels and natural defenses by protecting your cells from free radicals. It also lowers the risk of heart diseases. “Immunity is your first line of defense and vitamin C can help bolster that when trouble strikes. It can also help the absorption of iron, so it will help those deficient in iron”, says Jalan. It also encourages the production of WBCs which help protect your body from infections. 

B Vitamins

“Getting your daily doses of B vitamins is also very necessary in this day and age. We see a lot more people shifting more to a plant-based lifestyle and a fairly large sector turning vegetarian. However, it can sometimes be a bit tough to get your B vitamins just from plant-based sources. So, incorporating them into your daily diet is recommended,” says the Mumbai-based nutritionist. 


Collagen, derived from the Greek word ‘kólla’ (that means glue) is an essential protein for your body that can boost your body’s in-built collagen production to help improve the quality of your skin, your joints, muscles, and is also packed with strong anti ageing benefits. “Collagen is one of the primary proteins in the body and it can help your hair, skin, and even gut health. A note to vegans and vegetarians; collagen is animal-based,” she confirms. Most commonly found in powder form, this supplement can be added to your morning coffee or a milkshake.


“Gut health has become a huge conversation in the past year. Daily intake of probiotics is important because they are directly linked to your immunity,” she explains. While the thought of live yeast and bacteria chilling inside your body may not sound the least bit fascinating, they actually play a critical role in your digestion. They introduce healthy, ‘good’ bacteria into your system that also help eradicate disease-causing cells. They can also be found in popular fermented foods such as kombucha or yogurt.


Daily intake of zinc is a vital mineral for building your immunity, promoting the growth of new, healthy skin cells, DNA synthesis, and protein production. “Zinc plays an active role in improving skin health. Contrary to popular belief, I wouldn’t say it completely cures because it depends from case to case but yes, it definitely helps improve your health overall,” she says. It is also known to promote blood sugar control. 

Omega 3

Omega 3 helps build and maintain a healthy body and plays a crucial role in the structure of every cell wall you have. They're also an energy source and help keep your heart, blood vessels, lungs, and immune system working the way they should. “The modern lifestyle is highly inflammatory. Omega 3 can help balance this out,” she says. 


Popularly known as the hero of the mineral world, magnesium is an essential dietary mineral is responsible for supporting your bodily functions. “I love to call Magnesium is the magic mineral, especially for women. It helps in sleep and relaxation,” she shares. It can aid joint pain, sore muscle, improve blood sugar levels, and help your cells function overall. 

Protein Powders

“It is a bit tough to plan a systematic, daily four-square meal, especially for those that follow a busy lifestyle. Adding a protein powder to your diet (if you don’t get enough protein from your meals) can help you meet your needs for the day. There is definitely a common myth around protein intake. A common question that I get asked by some of my clients is if it’s necessary to consume protein powders if they’re not working out and if it would affect their kidneys. Yes, it is only harmful in some cases—only if you have malfunctioning kidneys. 

As featured in: Nykaa Beauty Book