#1: All supplements are the same

Different supplement manufacturers have differing standards when it comes to production of supplements. Some use fillers and other unnecessary ingredients, while others have a higher purity. And one can’t base the quality on price. Some supplement companies tout theirs as being “all natural” and charge a premium for added “natural” ingredients that don’t provide any real or additional benefits.

The most important thing to pay attention to is the nutrition information on the label. Make sure to only buy the nutrient, and not other unwanted ingredients. Also, pay attention to the dose as well as the daily requirement. Taking a mega dose of a B complex once a day might mean throwing money away, as the body can only process so much of water-soluble vitamins at one time. A better choice would be a lower dose that needs to be taking 2 or 3 times a day to get the most benefit, and not waste the nutrients.

#2: It’s better to get all your nutrients from your diet, not supplements

Almost everyone needs to take a daily multivitamin, at the very minimum. Today’s modern diet just doesn’t supply a person with everything needed for optimal health, no matter how well they eat. Unfortunately, the emphasis on mass production of meats and vegetables mean that our food today has contains far less vitamins, minerals and proteins than 50 -70 years ago.

This means one would have to consume almost 2 times the quantity of food to meet their daily requirements. Food is also more processed than in the past, which results in a decline in the nutrients supplied.

Furthermore, some medicines and medical conditions require supplements to provide the nutrients that they deplete. Bone density starts to diminish after the age of 30 for both men and women. By taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements in the early 20’s one can help prevent bone loss later in life. Another example of this is the increased need for folic acid, or vitamin B9, during pregnancy. Getting enough folic acid while pregnant is crucial to preventing certain birth defects, such as spinal bifida.

#3: It’s okay to take all of my supplements at the same time

Most people look at vitamins and supplements as a “one-shot” solution. This is fine for some vitamins, such as the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These build up in a person’s fat cells, so taking them once a day will allow the body to retain what it needs. But with other supplements, especially the B vitamin complex, the body excretes what it doesn’t use.

In that case, the daily requirements of these supplements need to be divided up into two or three doses spread throughout the day. Another point to consider is that certain supplements need to be taken at different times of the day. Some are designed to be taken right before bedtime, while others need to be taken as specific combinations for better performance, such as vitamin C that helps with calcium absorption.

#4: My urine is bright yellow, which means I’m just wasting money taking supplements

This is most often seen when taking B complex vitamin supplements that contain B2, which is the colored nutrient riboflavin. B vitamins are water-soluble, which means the body doesn’t store them. The change in the color of the urine means that the body is just excreting extra B2. In fact, seeing this change in the urine is actually a positive sign that the riboflavin has been processed by the body.

The supplement has to get to your bloodstream first before being expelled. Actually, if a person is taking a B complex and is not seeing the color change, this could be a sign that they need to take more.

#5: Don’t fall for the “latest and greatest” claim

There are a vast amount of supplements available, with new ones created every day. One thing to keep in mind is that the FDA there is no regulation by the FDA before a nutritional supplement goes on the market.

The FDA does not ensure the potency or purity of supplements. The only time they become involved is when there is a claim to cure some illness, at which point the supplement is now classified as a “drug.” Or when a supplement starts causing more harm than good, as was the case with ephedra.

In conclusion

Be careful of the buzz surrounding a new supplement. Just because it’s the latest thing doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. It’s a good idea to only use those that have been on the market for three or more years. They’ve been given the test of time, and chances are, they have held up to much scrutiny of their claims.

If it sounds too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is. Avoid anything with extravagant claims of massive improvement within a short period of time.

There just isn’t any shortcut to optimal health; what one puts in their body today determines its level of health tomorrow. There’s no magic formula to weight loss, or bigger muscles, or greater endurance. And if a supplement is advertising claims of a “secret” or suppressed knowledge that the medical, health or fitness establishment doesn’t the public to know about, there’s a good chance it is making a bogus claim.

References:

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http://www.dcpracticeinsights.com/mpacms/dc/pi/article.php?id=56394&pagenumber=1
http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/taking-calcium-for-osteoporosis
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/23/skinny-on-fda-regulation-dietary-supplements/

 

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