Today, many households have their own little dispensary of supplements available in the kitchen for self-care and health. If you’re one of them, look around in your cupboard where you store the bottles. Are there more than 10-15 different products that you use daily? If so, it may be time to explore whether you really need to take all the supplements and which ones make the most sense for your health. Even though supplements are used for natural health, you can still get too much of a good thing.

Natural health products are best used as a bridge in wellness and self-care. In other words, they help you get from how you’re feeling now to how you’d like to feel in your body. They can help aid digestion, clear up skin breakouts, promote quality sleep, and relieve high stress. However, when we overly rely on these products, we can miss the whole point of taking care of ourselves first and using the supplements as simply a tool or a bridge toward better health. The supplement isn’t everything, nor is it a magic solution.

Another point to consider is that we can only process so much, and we may be overworking our bodies with too many supplements. The capsules, tablets, and powders all need to be broken down and metabolized by the digestive system and liver. The mind also has to remember to take all the 10 to 20 supplements we may be requiring ourselves to take, and this checklist can even lead to stress (thereby counteracting some of the health benefits of the products).

Whether you’ve self-prescribed supplements or are taking ones recommended by one or more health providers, you can put them all out on the table and potentially simplify your routine to around 5 supplements or less. Decide which products will pack the most punch for your overall health and the organ systems that need the most support. Remember that your health will look different at various times depending on what you’re going through. Supplement routines will change along with your life circumstances and how you’re feeling.

Not sure which supplements are working, or the effect each one has on you? Try the following tips to help you choose what to keep and what to discontinue:

  • Take a 1-2 week break from supplements that you’re unsure about, especially if you don’t remember why you started them in the first place. Do you feel different afterward?
  • If your healthcare provider recommended the supplement(s), ask him or her which products are still relevant for your treatment. They may be able to re-evaluate what you’re taking.
  • Anything expired? If a product label lists an expired date, it’s a great time to consider whether you still need to be taking it, and if so order a fresh batch.
  • If you have two or more supplements that serve the same purpose, often you can narrow down to one product with that function. For example, rather than taking two adaptogen (stress relief) formulas, choose one that resonates the best with your health.
  • If you have a bottle of overly large pills that you hate taking, a yucky tasting tincture or tea, or a product that involves 3 or more pills in one sitting, what a great time to reexamine whether you really need that.

Once you have around 5 products or less that you focus on for your health, see how you feel on the new routine. And with the time freed up from not having to remember 10-20 different supplements, you can take care of your health in other non-pill ways. Rest. Stretch. Take a nice moment to do nothing! Go for a walk or enjoy your favorite exercise. Listen to music, catch up on your water intake, enjoy a bath. Your body will enjoy the focused supplement routine as well as the opportunity to try new things for your health.