What are nutritional supplements and are you one of those many people who take at least one of these nutritional supplements regularly? Among adults almost everyone takes at least one vitamin pill regularly to stay healthy. Considering what many think about these nutritional supplements, few are found to be myths. These days, people started taking utmost care regarding health. They want to live longer than the previous generation, want to stay healthy throughout their lives and may be they can do anything to stay healthy. People are more following health news and websites to acquire knowledge on this. Most of the people are taking pills or supplements just by guessing; they just hear to their friends’ suggestions or from a health website or news. So, let’s jump into the matter directly and see what these myths are.
13 Myths and Facts of Nutritional Supplements You Should Know
Myth 1: Supplements can prevent and control health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, etc.
Fact: Supplements can’t really treat health problems. They are not meant for that.
Nutritional supplements aren’t medications and aren’t meant to treat your illness. They are made just to fill the nutritional gap in your body. These are recommended to take when a specific vitamin or mineral doesn’t reach the RDA value. For example vitamin D can’t be found in many foods and so it should be taken in the form of pills. It can prevent a health problem only in way when it has chances to arise due to its deficiency only. Other factors also affect to cause an illness.
Myth 2: Supplements can replace your diet.
Fact: You need most of the nutrients through your diet only. Supplements can only fill the extra thing which you lack through diet.
Getting most of the nutrients through diet is recommended since your body absorbs them from food in required amounts only. You cannot face problems with your food but these nutritional supplements can be too much sometimes. Suppose you take too much of vitamin A supplement, it can give you osteoporosis. The same way too much of vitamin E can give you a stroke and too much of iron can give you heart disease. Instead of eliminating these excess nutrients, your body stores them in the form of fat which later becomes toxic. If you eat plenty of healthy vegetables, fruits, nut, seeds, etc. then chances are you don’t need these pills at all. Plus it is important that you take the pills in right way. If you take them with food then chances are your body absorbs them properly and eliminates any excess of it. Moreover even if you take these supplements properly, all the benefits can’t be absorbed by your body because there are nutrients which can be absorbed only through food such as phytonutrients.
Myth 3: If the label says “all natural”, it’s the best supplement.
Fact: In a label the only important thing is the nutritional facts.
Manufacturers are only trying to attract consumers using words like “all natural”. They also grab your interest by labeling as added enzymes or some oil etc. but this is actually present in trace amount which is of no use to you. You should instead focus on the nutritional value. Check the percentage they provide. It can be 100% but not more than 300% of RDA value. Usually those mentioned above 100% are added because they are needed by your body to absorb other nutrients. For instance, vitamin C is water soluble and so can’t be toxic to your body.
Myth 4: You just heard that a particular vitamin has a new health benefit. So you should start taking it.
Fact: It’s not necessary always that you need it. It can be sometimes unsafe for you as well.
Many think that if a particular vitamin got a health benefit then it should be taken to get those benefits. Whenever a new study shows that this vitamin got new health benefit and the news spreads round the world like anything, you get encouraged to take it. But this can’t be for you always. May be you just don’t need it or it just could be harmful. Before you start taking anything it’s always better to talk to your doctor about the same and decide if you really need it especially if you have any health problems. Suppose you take blood thinners or aspirin then you should avoid vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids since they can limit your blood’s ability to clot and develop the risk of bleeding without clotting. This proves to be extremely harmful for such a condition. Not only that but if you are already taking a particular vitamin through food in 100% of RDA value then this pill can be extra for you which is harmful.
Fact: A single pill of multi-vitamin is more than enough but with few exceptions.
A healthy person with over 50 years of age can take a multi-vitamin which is more than enough to meet his nutritional requirements especially vitamin B12 is required since the body doesn’t absorb it properly as we age. However there are few exceptional nutrients that to be taken as individual pills. These include vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids which can never be enough for you through diet.
Myth 6: All the multi-vitamins are same
Fact: Each type may have different composition in different proportions.
When you think of multi-vitamin you think it has all but a pill with two vitamins can also be called multi-vitamin. Other than vitamins they may add antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients, etc. So, check the composition before you buy.
Myth 7: It’s listed and so it’s present in the pill
Fact: FDA demands the manufacturers list the ingredients but doesn’t check.
As a rule the manufacturers should list all the ingredients and their proportions but they really don’t need to prove its accuracy. FDA doesn’t check their quantities. An independent product testing service, ConsumerLab.com tested and said that few contain less in proportions than listed. USP also tests these products and seals them if they reach their claims. So buy those with USP seals or those tested by ConsumerLab.com.
Fact: Nutrients occur in different forms and all of them do not function equally.
For instance, a study in the Journal of the America Dietetic Association proved this. Orange juice fortified with calcium citrate malate can be absorbed easily up to 48% better than orange juice fortified with different form of calcium in the same quantity. So you can consult a dietician to choose from products that are likely to be absorbed in a better way.
Myth 9: All those supplements placed in the shelves of drug store are FDA approved.
Fact: FDA isn’t responsible for dietary supplements. It bans only when anything proves to be unsafe for public.
All the medicines don’t reach you after FDA approval but when any medicine or pill proves to harmful after usage by the public, FDA bans them. So if you want to use only FDA approved medicines then check if it is approved or not before you purchase.
Myth 10: Your urine turned yellow which means you are eliminating all the good nutrients.
Fact: You are eliminating only the excess.
Many think that they are urinating all the vitamins they are taking through pills when it turns yellow or orange. The color shows you that it contains vitamin B2 or riboflavin where flavin means yellow but you need not worry since your body utilizes the required amounts of the vitamin and eliminates the excess. So you can instead relax thinking that your body can successfully eliminate the excess instead of storing it in the fats which can be toxic. If the color bothers you, just drink more water to dilute it.
Fact: After expiry date it loses its potency.
In some way you are right that vitamins cannot be dangerous even if they get expired but after that date they lose their potency. Using them is just waste of time since you get almost nothing from them. So it’s better to get a new bottle after the expiry date.
Myth 12: You prefer supplements which are labeled as “pharmaceutical strength” or “pharmaceutical grade”.
Fact: This doesn’t mean they are more potent than others.
This is another term that attracts consumers. If you see this on the bottle then just neglect them since this doesn’t increase its potency at all. All you need to check is its nutritional value.
Myth 13: Vitamin pills are all in closed bottles. So I can store them anywhere I want to.
Fact: Different nutrients are recommended to store in different places.
Not all nutrients can be stored so openly in your kitchen. There are few nutrients that should be stored in cool places such as refrigerator. These include fish oil, flax oil, probiotics, etc. If they are kept outside, they can get rancid faster. Few vitamins are advised to keep at constant room temperature but in dark place such as cupboards such as vitamin C since it is photosensitive. You should not keep vitamins at places with high temperature such as oven top, etc. Keep them away from wet places as well since they lose their potency in such conditions.