When it comes to talking about health and wellness, there’s ton of inaccurate information around particularly when supplements are concerned.
People feel that because they’ve been on a dietary supplement for a month or two, or read an article online, they’re experts on supplementation.
But with all of the information that is passed from friends, colleagues, and the internet “experts,” how do you tell what’s fact and what’s fiction?
Let’s examine some of the wider spread myths about supplements and then separate the fact from it. But first some information about dietary supplements.
What are Dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplements are things like herbs, vitamins, minerals, and products made from plants.
They can sometimes be made from seafood, yeast, animal parts, fungus, and other types of extracts and food substances.
Dietary supplements include liquid nutritional supplements, powdered amino acids, energy bars, and enzymes.
Side Effects of Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements, like drugs, also have their risks and side effects.
But unlike drugs, the manufacturers are not required to carry out research studies on people to prove that they’re safe.
Also, dietary supplements are usually self-prescribed with no input from knowledgeable medical sources like nurses, pharmacists, and doctors. This means that a lot of people may not be taking them as they should.
The biggest risk with dietary supplements is buying from brands that you can’t trust a 100 percent.
They may claim their product has a lot of nutritional facts and benefits that it doesn’t and you won’t even know.
The second biggest risk from supplements occurs when you take them in excess. An excessive intake of minerals, for example, can lead to toxicity.
That is why you should always follow the Recommended Daily Allowance.
Common Myths Surrounding Dietary Supplements
More equates to better
People tend to assume that because dietary supplements are sold without prescriptions, then high doses ought to be safe to take.Although there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that a large dose of vitamin C can cure or prevent the common cold, many people still believe that to be true.A lot of people still talk about additional benefits when you use large doses of certain vitamins. But no scientific evidence has ever supported the claim that large doses of vitamins can fight off diseases in humans.
The fact is, large amounts of some minerals or vitamins have proved to be toxic and dangerous. Too much phosphorus, for example, can inhibit the body’s capacity to absorb copper.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K can quickly reach harmful levels when you take too much because the body cannot get rid of large doses of them.
Because it’s natural, it’s safer and better
The idea that a manufactures substance is better than a natural material is one that won’t gain much support nowadays.
However, not every supplement claiming to be “all natural” is safer or better than the manufactured counterpart. For those wondering why just remember that some of the most lethal substances in the world are naturally occurring.
Botanical supplements are typically made from plant material, so you’ll find a lot of them are sold as “natural” products. What people forget is that plants are also made up of chemicals, and a lot of these chemicals can cause allergies or are poisonous. Labeling these botanical supplements as “all natural” isn’t always helpful as the potentially harmful chemicals may not have been removed.
What you should concern yourself with is the nutritional information on the panel and not whether it is “all natural.”
They are dietary replacements
Supplements are meant to act as a nutrient support system in addition to you eating right. They cannot replace a healthy diet. Healthy adults who are sure they’re getting the right amount of nutrients that their body needs don’t need to add multivitamins or individual supplements.
For those that require supplements, it needs to be taken properly. That means taking it with your meals as our body may get rid of most of it otherwise. But when you take it with a meal, as your body absorbs the nutrients from the food, it also absorbs the nutrients from the supplement.
The Government does not regulate dietary supplements
The truth is, nutritional supplements are also regulated and subjected to comprehensive and detailed regulations to uphold quality and safety.
The only difference is that they’re not held to the same extreme standards the government holds pharmaceutical product designed to treat diseases are held to.
As you can see, not all the information floating about dietary supplements are accurate. Labels cannot always be trusted, and manufacturers don’t always paint the whole picture. Therefore, it is important that you check with your doctor before you take any supplement.