How do supplements work? Which ones are right for you? And how do you know which supplement brands to choose from among the thousands on the market?

If questions like these have been running through your mind, and you’d like to swot up on your supplements knowledge, we’re here to help!

As a Functional and Integrated Medicine practice, supplements are an essential part of our treatment programmes here at The Maas Clinic.  

Below we’re diving into the reasons behind using supplements, how to identify the correct supplements for you and how to hone in on the best quality supplements so that you can achieve optimal usage results.

What are supplements?

The clue is in the name! Dietary supplements are intended to be used to ‘fill in’, or rather ‘supplement’, nutritional gaps your diet isn’t able to cover.

Supplements come in different forms: pills, capsules, tablets, liquids and powders. It is important when choosing supplements to identify which delivery form is most effective for each supplement.

Supplements can contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, enzymes, amino acids and other ingredients, to support the body.

Why are supplements necessary?

In modern day life it is difficult – some would argue impossible – to achieve the correct balance of vitamins and minerals the body needs through diet alone. There are a number of reasons for this.

 The advance of modern farming has, in many areas, depleted the soil of minerals. This has a knock-on effect on the crops grown in these areas which lack nutrients. As we eat these nutrient-poor crops and harvests, we’re not able to obtain adequate levels of vitamins and minerals from our diet alone.

Additionally, toxins encountered in everyday life can have an impact on the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Things like household cleaning products, cosmetic items, pesticides, pollution and much more can impact the body’s delicate internal balance.  

Add into the mix stress (yes, it finds its way into most problems!) and the body’s depletion of vitamins, minerals and more can be further exasperated.

Remember: stress can be caused by lifestyle factors including relationships and work; it can also be caused by hidden allergies and other physical factors.

How do you know which supplements are right for you?

“Test, don’t guess” – if you’re familiar with our work, you’ll know that this is one of our clinic mantras. The most effective way to identify which supplements your body is in need of, is to test your vitamin, mineral and other essential levels.

We complete various tests on site at The Maas Clinic, including simple blood and urine tests. For more extensive testing, including genetics and hormones, we work with our trusted external partners.

Once we receive the results of your tests, we can identify which supplements can be used to help to support your body’s systems.

Usually, in 2-3 months’ time, we recommend re-testing to gauge how well the treatment programme is working and make any adjustments needed. NB: supplements are a part of our treatment programmes, not the whole spectrum, so after 2-3 months we may adjust other elements of your programme too.

Alongside testing, we also look at lifestyle factors which can indicate health areas in need of support through supplements.

How to source high-quality supplements

One question we’re often asked is: how to tell which supplements are good quality? Are there any red flags to look out for when selecting a supplement?

Locally, all of the supplements we stock at The Maas Clinic Apothecary have been selected by our team for their quality and efficacy. If a supplement is recommended by us, you can be sure that it’s the best we know of in its category.

If buying supplements outside of The Maas Clinic Apothecary, there is a checklist of items we suggest working through when selecting your supplements:

  • Does this supplement contain bulking agents? If so, is a bulking agent the first ingredient? Common bulking agents include talcum powder and cellulose. The first ingredient on an ingredient list indicates the largest component of that item. If this is a bulking agent, then it may indicate that the supplement is largely ‘filler’ with less space allocated to the active ingredients.
  • Read reviews and do your research. Investigate any supplements you intend to use thoroughly. Read customer reviews, industry reviews and don’t be shy about getting in touch with a company directly if you have any questions.
  • Does the company feel gimmicky? If intuitively a company feels gimmicky, in our experience, it usually is. Refer to our point above and be uncompromising in your research.

A note on price: embarking on a supplement routine can be costly, which is why it’s important to be informed about the supplements your body can best benefit from and to choose supplements which will make a positive impact. Cost is not necessarily indicative of quality. That being said, many premium supplement brands have a higher price tag due to the extensive research behind them and the efficacy of the product. We advise our clients to buy the best quality supplements they can afford.

Do multi-vitamins work?

Multi-vitamins are often marketed as a catch-all for health support. While taking ‘something’ to support your health is arguably better than nothing, most multi-vitamins are not potent enough to have a significant impact on your health.

Furthermore, multi-vitamins do not target specific deficiencies. In some cases it may be appropriate to take a high quality multi-vitamin in conjunction with other targeted supplements.

Relying on multi-vitamins alone is not – in our experience – sufficient to support the body’s various systems and functions.

Below we are sharing some of our favourite – and most commonly used – supplements at The Maas Clinic. As mentioned above, we recommend testing to gauge your body’s specific supplement needs.


Magnesium involved in many of the body’s functions, from sleep, to movement, cognitive function, nervous system regulation, hormonal balance and more.


These are a helping hand for good gut health. The gut microbiome is made up of billions of bacteria, the balance of which can lead to good digestive health or digestive health issues. A targeted probiotic can help to populate the gut with good bacteria, which in turn can support the digestive system, immune system, hormonal balance and more.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins play an integral role in the release of energy from food. Adequate amounts can help to improve digestive function, cognitive function, energy levels and support the liver and kidneys. There are a number of different B Vitamins, so do your research and/or consult with a practitioner to determine the most suitable B Vitamin supplements for you.

Vitamin C

This a key vitamin and antioxidant. Adequate Vitamin C levels are essential for a well-functioning immune system, as well as supporting the body’s ability to manage toxins.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is an essential component for energy, gut health, mood and the immune system.

Curious to learn more? If you would like to learn more about which supplements may be a good fit for you, and how they can support your body’s systems, reach out to find out more about our Health and Wellness Programmes.

We offer a complimentary call to new clients.