Supplements are a hot topic these days, so I decided to look at some of the most common misconceptions about supplementing your nutrients.
A good marketing campaign can pull you into the next “miracle cure” supplement, so it’s essential to know how supplements are regulated. Unlike most pharmaceuticals, the FDA only tests supplements for their safety as a food item, not the effectiveness or safety as a medical treatment.
Each person’s needs are individualized, and each supplement can vary greatly. It is essential to run the proper testing to establish your body’s nutritional requirements before choosing to take supplements. Knowing what your body needs can be complicated, so here are 3 common supplement myths.
All forms of a vitamin or mineral are the same
Not all versions of a vitamin or nutrient product are the same quality or even type. For example, there are two main types of calcium, each with different percentages of elemental calcium. Calcium carbonate, with 40%, has a higher percentage and can be more cost-effective. The drawback is that it’s harder for the body to absorb and may cause side effects such as gas, constipation, or bloating. This calcium version should be taken with food to ease some of these complications.
Calcium citrate, on the other hand, only has 21% elemental calcium, but the body can absorb it much easier. You can also take this calcium type with or without food, making it more convenient and gentle on the gut. Although this form of calcium better for the body, it is less common in generic supplements due to the cost.
Studies have also shown that calcium is best absorbed when taken in quantities of less than 500 mg at a time, which is easier to control if you don’t use a general mineral supplement. Whatever your requirements, make sure you get a health professional’s advice first to ensure you’re getting the best option and delivery method for you.
All multi-vitamins are created equal
The only requirement for a supplement to be called a multivitamin is that it contains more than three ingredients. Options and ingredients for multi-vitamins vary significantly from brand to brand.
When out looking for a multivitamin, you may notice that many of them cater to specific demographics such as men, women, or over the age of 50. Even within these categories, your needs would vary from person to person. It is crucial to work with your health professional to run the proper testing and find out your specific needs. They can then prescribe a multivitamin that best suits you.
Supplements can replace a healthy diet
Developing a well rounded and balanced diet that suits your body’s needs will always be your best option for getting the nutrients you require. By getting nutrients from food, your body can regulate the quantities you need.
Throwing supplements at a problem can easily cause you to ingest more nutrients than your body can process. The body stores vitamins such as vitamin A and E, and minerals like iron in your fat cells. Unlike their water-soluble counterparts, the body can not excrete the excess you consume. Over storage of these vitamins and minerals can lead to other health risks. Studies have shown that vitamin A toxicity can cause osteoporosis at levels as low as only twice the recommended dietary allowance.
Supplements can be helpful to do what they are named for, supplementing a healthy diet but are only beneficial in the correct doses. Make sure you work with a health professional to get tested and find your nutritional balance to ensure that you are getting the proper benefits and to reduce any risks associated with taking supplements.