In 2016, the supplement industry turnover was $132.8 billion and is expected to reach $288.5 billion by 2030. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicates that 52% of US citizens have reported using some kind of supplement, and one in three people take multivitamins. This inclination shows that people want to be healthy and avoid diseases but are inclined to fulfill their dietary needs more quickly and easily. If you can keep yourself healthy by popping a few pills, what is the harm in it? No wonder the industry is booming and making money in leaps and bounds.
But the habit of taking supplements takes a wrong turn when you start taking supplements without knowing much about them or consulting a physician or a nutritionist. So whether you are taking supplements to make up for your dietary deficiency, add a few extra pounds or develop muscles, you have to make sure that you are doing it in the right way. Below are all the facts about supplements you should know before taking them, so have a look.
1. Not all supplement brands and suppliers are credible
Before buying supplements, make sure you are taking a quality product. Most people take supplements to improve their health. But they get no positive impact because they use low-quality products that do nothing more than make them guzzle down a few pills. So, don’t go for companies that sell cheap products. You might be interested in saving some money, but they will give you no benefit. So, before selecting a supplement, search online about the best supplement providers. You will find extensive information about various health and wellness direct sales companies, so compare their products before ordering. Read their reviews before selecting any products and go with the one with the most positive customer reviews.
2. Taking more supplements is not always recommended
When it comes to taking supplements, most people believe that the more vitamins and minerals they swallow, the more effective the results will be. But in reality, our body needs these elements in a limited amount. If you take them in excess, the body will either release them through excretion, or they will negatively impact your health.
All functions and organs of the body work in tandem with each other. Taking vitamins and minerals in excess can impact that balance. According to the American Cancer Society, taking vitamin C in excess amounts can hamper the body’s ability to absorb copper. Taking one vitamin in excessive quantities leads to a condition called hypervitaminosis.
Disproportionate levels of vitamin C and calcium also cause diarrhea. And excessive calcium in your body leads to Hypercalcemia— a condition that weakens your bones.
Similarly, too much phosphorus can intrude on your body’s calcium absorption ability. In instances when your body cannot get rid of the excess qualities of vitamins including A, K, and D, they can reach toxic levels— extremely dangerous for normal growth.
3. Not all supplements labeled as natural are safe
Sadly the term “natural” mentioned on most supplements is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. And it adds nothing to the effectiveness or safety aspect of a supplement. For instance, cyanide is a natural substance, but it is poisonous. So, one cannot suggest having cyanide even if it is available in its purest form.
There is no doubt that many natural substances have medicinal properties. But how will you be sure about its dilution? How much of the natural substance is really present in the final products? What if it is present in traces — next to no amount? Or, worst, what if it is present in abundance exceeding the safe limits? So, you cannot buy a supplement just because it is advertised as “natural.” This word can attract customers, but it cannot ensure the product’s efficacy.
4. Ingredients present in the supplements can interact with each other
One of the potential risk factors associated with taking various dietary supplements at one time is the chance of drug interaction among multiple substances. These minerals and vitamins are chemical. The interaction of antagonistic substances can be detrimental to the body.
Researchers conducted scientific research and found no less than 1490 drug interactions and contradictions among herbal medicines and dietary substances. So, when people complain about the side effects of a drug, it is often because of drug antagonism. Especially, supplements containing magnesium, ginkgo, iron, and calcium have the most interactions. Coupled with the risk of interaction, people’s ignorance in taking these supplements without a prescription further compounds the problem.
5. Supplements do not undergo testing and trial
It is common for prescription drugs to pass through stringent testing and clinical trials; the same is not the case with supplements. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration Authority does not regulate the health benefits proclaimed by the supplement manufacturers. Even surprising is that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 does not require the manufacturers to prove the safety of these supplements before putting them out for sale. The only requirement for the manufacturers is that they have to prove the safe production conditions of these supplements. Both the requirements are not the same.
Because of their unregulated nature, customers fail to realize the harmfulness and unsuitability of these supplements. Hence, it becomes imperative to consult a doctor. There are high chances that they prove harmful to your health due to any underlying health conditions or potential drug interaction.
6. Supplements cannot substitute a physical activity or a healthy diet
Taking supplements is an easy way to fulfill your dietary needs and nutritional gaps. But they can never be considered a replacement for a healthy diet. The essential elements of health comprise physical activity, sleep, a nutritious diet, a good social circle, a productive work environment, and no excessive use of alcohol. Keeping yourself healthy includes having all the elements of good healthy coupled with the following dietary supplements:
- Folic acid for those planning to conceive or expectant mothers
- B12 for vegans and vegetarians
- Vitamin D3, magnesium, vitamin k, and calcium for osteoporosis
- Vitamin E for fatty liver
- Zinc and Vitamin C for cold
- Melatonin for sleep for adults and kids
- Omega 3 fish oils for high triglycerides
Taking the above-mentioned supplements can fulfill the gap left by your diet. But even if you know about the efficacy of specific elements or supplements, don’t start taking them until you discuss them with a doctor.
There are many misconceptions and assumptions about taking supplements. Often the lack of proper information and self-medication causes problems. When medication, whether prescription drugs or supplements, discussing it with a physician should be necessary. Converse any underlying conditions you might have or other drugs you might be taking. Once all the factors are considered, you must only then take the supplements.