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Have you heard about dietary supplements? They seem to be all the rage at the moment right? Americans have gotten used to the standard bottles of vitamin D, vitamin C, multivitamin, and fish oil in their supplements cabinet and slowly, the world is starting to understand the value of bottled vitamins and minerals and how they can be beneficial for you.

While it’s fun to stay fit and take the right supplements, there seem to be very popular myths floating around about them. Don’t worry we will bust all of them one by one for you.

Myth 1:

Dietary Supplements are medication

Busting the scariest and most common myth about dietary supplements first!

Dietary supplements are vitamins and minerals intended to make up for what you lack in your diet. They are not medication and are not intended to treat diseases. They are intended to make up for nutritional deficiencies and help you live a healthier life.

Myth 2:

Supplements are not necessary 

Dietary supplements are beneficial for many and help manage various conditions.

Here are some examples:

  • Someone with nutrition deficiencies
  • Someone on a calorie-restricted diet who may benefit from multivitamins and minerals
  • Someone who is allergic to milk may benefit from calcium and vitamin D
  • A vegan who may benefit from taking vitamin B12 and Omega 3
  • Pregnant moms who benefit from taking folic acid

Most experts believe supplements are helpful if you’re deficient in a given nutrient. Women who tend to lose a lot of iron because of heavy menstrual bleeding might need an additional iron supplement while those who are going through menopause may need extra calcium and vitamin D.

Myth 3:

Vitamins can be taken on an empty stomach

Many vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they dissolve in water and will be absorbed by the body at almost any time of the day, regardless of what’s in your tummy. But there are 4 fat-soluble vitamins namely, A, D, E, and K that can only be absorbed with fat. So if you are consuming a multivitamin that contains a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s best to have it with a little food on the side, that contains some fat. It is also commonly observed that many people find that taking a supplement on an empty stomach makes them nauseous.

Myth 4:

More supplements are always better

With supplements, the adage “too much of a good thing” applies. Toxicity can occur with water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals, Fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A, D, E, and K, can be stored in the body, in the largest amounts, so they may pose a threat like toxicity.

Water-soluble vitamins B and C are usually excreted with urine whenever ingested in excess. Therefore, they are comparatively safer to overdo per se. Toxicity is usually a result of too much supplementation, and the exact reactions differ, depending on the nutrient. For example, the toxicity of Vitamin C can cause upset stomach or diarrhea, whereas the toxicity of vitamin B-6 can cause neuropathy. Neuropathy is a form of nerve damage, most often results in weakness, numbness, and pain in the affected areas.

Usually how much you need of any given vitamin or mineral should be determined by your health care provider, for safer consumption. Some people don’t require taking any more than the recommended daily amount of that nutrient, however, in some cases, taking more than 100 percent of the recommended daily amount may be required and is perfectly safe.

Myth 5:

Supplements can replace food in your diet

Supplements are not meant to replace your food intake and it will be disastrous to assume that only taking certain supplements will suffice your daily nutritional needs. Dietary supplements help fill in the gaps for deficiencies and an extra kick of nutritional support that you may need. But the supplements alone or your dependency on them wouldn’t suffice. To stay healthy you will always need to adhere to a balanced diet and consume the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats from various sources.

Dietary supplements can definitely help you hit your nutrition goals but what you put in your belly in terms of food is equally important.

Myth 6:

There’s no such thing as too many vitamins

If you take vitamins and minerals while eating a diet of amped-up cereals and sports bars, which tend to contain 100 percent or more vitamins and minerals than the recommended amount, it’s possible that you are overdoing it.

You might even risk your vital organs in the process. Consuming too much of vitamin A can have a bad effect on your liver, and consuming vitamin C in excess can turn the famous antioxidant into a pro-oxidant, which means cell- damage, not to mention diarrhea. Its necessary that you understand that too much of anything is bad.

Myth 7:

Taking supplements while on medication is okay

Many people happen to assume that supplements are safe to take along with prescription medication, this is not true. For example, certain herbs or botanicals can block or speed up the body’s absorption of some medication. This can cause the said person to either have too much or too little of the medication in their body.

It is always best to talk with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or may take in the future so that your doctor or pharmacist can let you know about any interactions your medication could have with your supplements. Although not all supplements interact with medications, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The takeaway

Supplements are generally great for a bit of necessary addition in nutrition value if you’re prone to an unbalanced diet, a certain kind of diet or deficiencies. But it’s most important to be aware of what supplements, in what quantities you take them in and if they are required for you. Seeking help from a medical professional will always help you out in these scenarios and help you make smarter decisions for a healthier you!

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