Here’s the scenario: You are experiencing some unpleasant symptoms, so you make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor (good job!). Your ND makes you an individualized treatment plan that is going to target your specific health condition. So you go to the local health food store. You stock up on all the supplements your naturopath recommended. You take them home and put them in your cupboard or your fridge, and the bottles just sit there. And sit there. And sit there. Every now and then you see one of the bottles and think, “oops, I should probably take that, it’s been a few days!” Sound familiar?
Remembering to take supplements can be a struggle for a lot of people. And it can be frustrating for them, especially since they’ve taken the right steps by seeking out health care and making the purchases. Good intentions are there, but if you aren’t taking your supplements, then why go through the appointment and the trip to the health food store? Remembering once every few days is good, but not good enough! Supplements and herbs are prescribed based on the therapeutic dose, which is the amount required in order to have a medicinal effect. If you’re not taking your supplements regularly, you may not be getting the effect you want.
But as a primary health care provider, I feel it is my duty to help patients remember to take their health products. Here are a few tips for reminding yourself to take your supplements, vitamins, herbs, or whatever it is that your naturopath has prescribed for you.
1. Set an alarm
Try setting a daily alarm on your phone that will remind you to take your supplements. An added bonus of using this method is that you will be taking your supplements at the same time each day, and the body likes consistency!
2. Use an app
There’s an app for that. Actually, there are hundreds of them, and most of them are free! Just search “pill reminder” on the app store and you’ll see what I mean. Most of these apps work by having you enter the supplement name, dose, time of day to take it, and special instructions (take with food/away from food/before bed etc.). Then it will send you notifications when it’s time to take your supplement. You can also track when you take your supplements and when you miss them. This can give you useful information so that you can log your symptoms and see if you missed a dose on days where you’re not feeling well.
3. Make taking supplements part of your daily routine
I know that the first thing I do every morning is drink a big glass of water, so I keep my supplements next to the cupboard where the water glasses are. When I go to grab a glass, I see my vitamins and voila! I remember to take them. Try thinking of a habit you do every day, and pairing your supplements with that. Drink coffee every morning? Keep your supplements next to the coffee maker. Brush your teeth every morning? I sure hope so! Keep your vitamins next to your toothbrush. After doing this for awhile, it will likely become more automatic and soon become a daily habit.
4. Use a pill container
You know that plastic “day-of- the-week” pill container your grandpa has? Well it’s not just for seniors! These work beautifully for planning out your supplements for the week, and they even sell some that are split out for morning, afternoon and evening. These are also easy to carry in a purse or bag if you commute to work or for when you’re traveling.
5. Double up on bottles
One of the problems that I find patients have is that they get into a routine during the week when they are working, but then forget to take their supplements on the weekend when their schedule is a little different. One possible solution is to buy 2 bottles of your supplement, one to keep at the office and the other in your house. That way you don’t have to remember to bring the bottle around with you between work and home.
If you’re going to see a naturopathic doctor about your health, don’t let your efforts go to waste! Take your motivation to improve your health one step further and remember to take your supplements. If you’re not sure what kinds of natural health products you should be taking, book with Dr. Corina Kibsey, ND today.
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