Dietary supplements can be a great addition to your day and help you get closer to your health goals- if you take them the right way. Even though all supplements serve a specific purpose, it is essential to understand what you are consuming. Before you go on a supplement shopping spree, take a look at the eight things you should know when taking supplements.
1. No supplement can make up for an unhealthy lifestyle
Over 40% of Americans take at least one supplement daily. However, no supplement can replace a nutrient-dense diet and a healthy lifestyle. Micronutrients, AKA vitamins, and minerals are essential to help your body function as efficiently as it should. For the most part, you can get all of the micronutrients you need by keeping a healthy diet, but some people need an extra boost. That’s where dietary supplements come in. They provide the necessary nutrients that your diet may be lacking.
2. Supplements are not a one-size-fits-all
Your supplement regime should be as unique as you are. For instance, the NIH notes that pregnant women and vegan people may need extra support from supplements. If you are vegan, you might find it harder to reach your protein goals and get enough nutrients found mostly in animal proteins like collagen and Vitamin B12. Before you build your supplement regime, consult with your healthcare provider to choose what is right for you based on your needs and diet.
3. More isn't always better
The human body needs vitamins and minerals to operate as efficiently as possible, but taking too many micronutrients can be detrimental to your health. If consumed in excess, certain vitamins and minerals can be as dangerous as being deficient in them. Before taking your supplements, check the tolerable intake level and stay within that limit. Consider that most of your micronutrient ingestion comes from your diet, and you need to count them in your intake level to avoid surpassing it.
4. Not all supplements have the same quality
Over the last couple of years, the supplement industry has grown exponentially and is now valued at over $37 billion. There are thousands of supplements available, and not all of them are created equal. When it comes to buying supplements, you get what you pay for. If you find that a supplement is considerably cheaper than competitors, it might be very low quality. As with everything else you ingest, the quality of your supplements will determine their effectiveness and safety. There are many ways of assessing the quality of a supplement:
-Choose brands with transparent labels.
-Do your research on the company by checking out reviews on multiple sites.
-Consult your healthcare provider.
-Choose products without artificial ingredients or additives.
5. Understand the label
Supplements don’t have a lot of regulations to follow, which gives you as the consumer the responsibility to research what you intend to buy. One of the first things you should look out for when purchasing a supplement is the label. Read labels carefully to ensure that there are no unnecessary additives or artificial ingredients. Reportedly, some supplement manufacturers have been found to use harmful ingredients in their products, so instead of helping you improve your health, a supplement from an untrustworthy manufacturer could have the opposite effect.
6. Watch out for unrealistic claims
The FDA treats supplements as food rather than a drug, which is important to consider for a couple of reasons. Not categorizing supplements as drugs means that any health claims they make are not verified. For this reason, you should watch out for any products making unrealistic claims. Recognizing these claims is relatively easy once you know what to look out for:
-Does it sound too good to be true? Supplements cannot claim to cure diseases miraculously. If they do, stay clear of them.
-"Everyone needs this" If a company claims that everyone needs their supplement, it is a red flag. As mentioned above, supplements are a tool to reach your ideal intake of certain nutrients more easily, but they are by no means the only source of them.
-Immediate results. You should stay away from supplements that offer immediate results. Vitamins and minerals are absorbed within hours, but it can take you up to a month to see noticeable results. Other supplements such as herbs and proteins can take even longer. For example, people taking collagen supplements can expect to see significant results after eight to twelve weeks. So, if a supplement guarantees immediate results without reliable scientific data to back their claims, avoid it at all costs.
7. You should consult with your healthcare provider
Before taking supplements, consult with your doctor or dietitian, especially if you are taking medications. Some dietary supplements can interfere with the efficiency of some medications. For example, St. John's Wort, a popular herb commonly used to treat mild depression, can decrease the efficiency of antidepressants and birth control pills. Moreover, consulting with your doctor will allow you to determine the ideal intake of certain supplements for you.
8. Get specific
If you lead a healthy diet, the odds are you're getting most of the micronutrients you need. However, suppose you have a certain nutrient deficiency or don’t have access to nutrient-rich foods. In that case, we suggest you get specific about the supplements you need rather than going straight to multivitamins. If you are looking to get specific results, you need to be specific about the supplements you are consuming.
As mentioned above, the best way to get all of the nutrients your body needs to reach optimal health is by having a nutritious diet. Supplements are a tool to help you become healthier, not the ultimate solution. If you lead a healthy lifestyle, the odds are you don’t even need a supplement at all.
We hope you found this blog helpful and got some clarity on what you should look out for when buying supplements. If you would like to read more tips like these or are interested in buying ethically sourced, high-quality hydrolyzed collagen, go to Revive Naturals.