Effective supplements: How Do You Know If They’re Working?

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

It depends on what your supplement is meant to do. If it’s meant to relieve symptoms or attack their causes, you should feel it working over time. Because nutritional supplements work with your body’s natural chemistry to gradually correct deficiencies or imbalances, they can take a few days to several weeks before you feel them “kick in”.

For example, if you’re taking a supplement for arthritis, it could take a week or two to start to feel more flexible and limber…with results that continue ramping up over the next several days and weeks.

Your joints didn’t start hurting overnight…so we can’t expect a healthy and effective remedy to work overnight either.

But here are just a few conditions that you can expect quick results from:


On the other hand, if your supplement is meant to slow a disease’s progression, or to strengthen, rebuild, or replenish damaged cells or systems, it won’t be fast acting. Healing takes time, especially when it takes place at the micro-cellular level. So does your body’s adjustment to something new that you’re putting into it. And just as many diseases have no overt cause or symptoms until a long time has passed, it might be weeks or months before improvements show up in a measurable way.

Finally, if you’re supplementing for more strength or energy, it depends, of course, on your own benchmark level when you start. If you’re doing a maximum 10 repetitions of an exercise now, for example, and can do 20 repetitions a month later, that’s a pretty good sign your health is improving. If you can walk briskly for 10 minutes without feeling out of breath when you start, and you’re up to 20 minutes after a few weeks or months, ditto.

One last note on ensuring your supplement does what you want it to do.

You’ve got to believe. Studies have shown that a positive state of mind improves all health results.

But again, the best way to see if your supplement is working is to get tested before you start taking it, and test again after 6 months. If you see positive changes in what you’re testing for, congratulations. You can be sure your supplements are working.

So here’s to your good health.


DeNoon, Daniel. “The Truth About Vitamin D: What Kind of Vitamin D is Best?” Published December 17, 2009. Last accessed April 27, 2018.Connealy, Leigh Erin. “5 Vital Vitamins and Minerals: A, B9, B12, Calcium, D3” Newport Natural Health. Published January 23, 2017. Last accessed April 27, 2018.Connealy, Leigh Erin “8 Vitamins for Eye Health” Newport Natural Health. Updated February 19, 2016. Last accessed April 27, 2018., 2018.Lite, Jordan. “Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S., study says” Scientific American. Published March 23, 2009. Last accessed April 27, 2018.“Vitamin D” Updated February 11, 2016. Last accessed February 10, 2018.Kolata, Gina “Why Are So Many People Popping Vitamin D?” New York Times. Published April 10, 2017. Last accessed April 27, 2018.“Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment” Published April 19, 2017. Last accessed April 27, 2018.