The Internet is divided over the benefits of vitamin supplements and multivitamins. Some users swear by the supplements while others believe they are a scam. Do supplements really make a difference or is this just hype? All this is covered in this blog post.
Supplements are beneficial but it’s always best to meet your need for vitamins and minerals through healthy foods.
All nutritionists recommend food to get vitamins and minerals because they offer such minerals that are not found in any mineral or vitamin supplement in the world.
Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition says that foods provide bioactive compounds and dietary fiber that are not found in supplements. She also says that if vitamins are taken on an empty stomach, without any food, the fat-soluble vitamins may not absorb well as they would when consumed with food.
Can Supplements Help?
They might. If you are doing your best to eat healthy food but you are deficient in certain areas, taking protein supplements might help. It’s mandatory to ensure they are taken in addition to healthy food. People forget that vitamins are supplements, they are not replacements. Also, use supplements only if it’s recommended by your physician especially if it’s any of the vitamins for high blood pressure.
Generally, most nutritionists would agree that it’s ok to take a supplement if your nutrition needs are not met by a food-based diet. That’s because good supplements provide 100% of the daily recommended mineral and vitamins.
Too Much of Everything is Bad
Healthy people must get an adequate amount of nutrients by eating foods rather than taking supplements. And if you are to take vitamin supplements, follow the DRIs published by the Institute of Medicine for safe intakes. Any nutrient can be toxic in case it’s consumed in a large quantity over the long run. Prescription drugs and vitamin supplements may combine and cause a reaction. Excess intake of iron can increase the risk of chronic disease whereas too much vitamin A can result in birth defects.
There isn’t sufficient data to suggest if supplements can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, improve blood circulation, or benefit healthy people in any other particular way. Don’t forget that these supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet that limits excess of trans fat, sodium, saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, or calories.
When are Supplements Recommended?
A healthy person may not need dietary supplements at all. They are better off relying on nutritious food to meet the body’s needs. However, there are certain stages in life when food alone is not enough to meet nutritional needs. Hence, supplementation becomes pertinent to the well-being of the person.
Here are some examples:
- When a woman is trying to conceive or during pregnancy
- People on strict plant-based and vegan diet
- Individuals with intolerance or allergy such as lactose or calcium intolerance
- Autoimmune disease (coeliac disease or cystic fibrosis)
- People deficient in Vitamin D
- Men or women with hormonal imbalances
These are not the only situations when supplements are applicable. We all may have health concerns at different stages of life. Hence, it’s ideal to choose supplements targeting those special needs. The question is, how do you tell when you need a supplement? Simple. If you are training hard to build a physique, drinking protein shakes for building muscles by following a restricted diet, this is a good time for supplements.
Choosing the Right Supplements Matter
When you are taking a supplement to meet nutritional needs, you need to watch out for what supplements to consume. These supplements differ from fat burning supplements or vitamins for healthy hair.
Never shop for supplements online. Self-diagnosis isn’t recommended either. It’s highly recommended to speak to a doctor or an accredited dietitian to determine your supplementation needs. Also, not all supplements should be taken long-term. After a while, you might not need them. Some supplements have adverse effects too. They might interfere with the nutrient absorption if they are taken in excess.
When shopping for a supplement, these are the key things to consider:
- Start with a supplement with a low dosage recommendation.
- Increase the dosage as required
- Search for the ones without fillers, colors, or unhealthy ingredients
- Always choose quality supplements
- Never choose a product for its marketing, logo, or price
- Continue eating real food to meet your needs
Some Healthy Supplements to Take
These are top vitamin supplements recommended by health experts, even if you have an eating disorder:
Fish oil contains long-chain omega fats, which are necessary for a healthy heart and brain. Omega 3 fatty acids are not produced by the body, which is why they are to be consumed through diet or supplements.
It’s the good bacteria that support the ability of the body to absorb nutrients and fight infection. You may take a capsule, drink it, or consume it in powder form, the choice is yours.
Magnesium plays a significant role in metabolizing food, synthesis of proteins, fatty acids, and transmit nerve impulses. It also helps manage stress and improve your night’s sleep.