When you take something, it’s nice to know if it is working.
But then, it’s also difficult to know if something is working.
Testing a product for effectiveness isn’t exactly like taking a lab measurement.
It’s not that a supplement can’t make a difference on a lab test, it’s that it would be really difficult to gauge such a thing at home.
So to that we offer this guide to the inherently incredibly subjective process of determining if a supplement is working for you, in 4 easy steps.
Step One: Lay the Groundwork with Statistics
People are different.
So, when a scientific study is conducted on human subjects, they aim for a broad sampling--the broader the better. That way, you can account for variations in people.
Some of the greatest advancements in modern human health have come from such broad nutritional studies.
For example: rickets was a common childhood disorder in the early 1900’s--at one point in Boston, 80% of children had rickets! Eventually, it was discovered that a vitamin D deficiency prevented the absorption of calcium, causing stunted growth and soft bones.
Widespread nutritional deficiencies also led to adding iodine to salt--a practice which may have even boosted the national average IQ!
But since you’re unlikely to take an IQ test before and after regularly taking a supplement, you’ll have to create a scientific study of one.
Well, yes, that’s not very scientific. Still, it can be done.
Lay the groundwork by outlining your current regiment:
- Exercise type and frequency
- Typical diet
- Energy level
Try your best to staticize whatever it is you hope your supplement will help correct.
Example: If it’s your energy level, how would you rate it now, on a scale of one to ten?
Example: If you hope to improve sleep, what is “typical” sleep now, or how could you chart factors such as feeling rested?
Example: If you frequently get ill and hope to boost your immune system, how can you track and compare number of sick days.
You could also use something like weight and measurements, if you hope to lose weight or get fit, but don’t rule out some of the other beneficial changes that might be indirectly affected by your supplement.
Step 2: Isolate Your Change
For the best possible measurement of change, you want to change only one thing. If you change many things at once, it can be difficult to track what is making the change.
That probably goes without saying, but many people forget it and then unintentionally credit or discount important factors in a change.
Step 3: Track Your Change
Ideally, you would keep a log of other related factors in your health, such as:
- A diet diary,
- A sleep log,
- An exercise log,
- Any of the statistics you picked in step one.
There are ample fitness bands, watches and apps out there. Such devices may help you track some of your statistics, plus help you see other measurements of overall health you might not normally notice (such as resting heart rate, an indication of overall health).
Step 4: Make Your Determination
You will likely need 4-6 weeks to track a single change and see if it is making an impact. After that time, you’ll have to make a decision: is this product I’m taking assisting me in the improvement of any of the health changes I hope to make?
If the answer is “yes,” keep it!
But keep going!
If you isolate one subjective health change at a time, such as getting more exercise, keeping a regular bedtime, or drinking more water, you can inch your way up to dramatically improved health!