If you’re confused about supplements, you’re not alone! There is a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not you should take them, and what kind. This article may help clear up some of the confusion…
Nutritional supplements are one of the fastest growing segments of the natural healthcare industry, so of course they have come under scrutiny in recent years.
Some health “gurus” contend that you should take a multivitamin daily, and that will satisfy your nutritional needs. Others say that most multivitamins are low-quality and unhelpful, or at worst, even harmful, and that you should only take top-of-the-line, expensive brands with high potency. And still others say you should just eat a healthy diet and forget about taking supplements altogether.
So what is the truth? Should you take nutritional supplements, or not?
This interesting article may shed some light on the matter:
Obviously our medical system has the tendency to take a band-aid approach when it comes to health, but the problem with this is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to health – or to disease. Therefore, recommending that everyone take a multivitamin, for example, may show no effect at all for many people – for one, because the dose of each vitamin in the formula is most likely too small to have an effect – especially when it comes to correcting a severe deficiency or imbalance.
Secondly, if you are not deficient in something, then taking a vitamin to correct a deficiency will obviously do nothing for your health. Most studies of multivitamins don’t show any effect therefore, because they aren’t targeting people that are specifically deficient in something (as a 2012 report by Dr. Moser in the International Journal of Vitamin Research explained, if the studies focused “just on people whose nutritional levels were known to be deficient, they would show a benefit from supplements”). Most grocery store multivitamins also contain the bare minimum (or less) of each vitamin – certainly not a therapeutic dose of anything.
Also, although chronic vitamin deficiencies have been linked to all sorts of diseases, they are not the only risk factor. Many other things come into play as well, such as stress, toxicity, hormone levels, exercise and fitness, diet, and many other issues. Whether or not you are deficient in a certain vitamin, if you take a multivitamin and make no other changes to your lifestyle, vitamins by themselves are unlikely to have much of an effect – unless you are severely deficient in a specific vitamin to the extent where that alone is causing an illness – in which case, therapeutic doses of that specific vitamin would show an obvious effect.
So what is the answer? Should you take vitamins or not? In short, perhaps, but with several caveats.
1. Understand that if you’re not deficient in it, you won’t benefit from taking a certain vitamin, so a multivitamin may not be all that useful for you.
2. Eat a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet, and after following this for several months, have your doctor check your blood levels of various vitamins and minerals – then take only those in which you are deficient.
3. Lead a healthy lifestyle – don’t smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine in excess, avoid sugar, get regular exercise, and follow stress relieving practices.
Understanding and following these practices will help keep you healthy much longer and more effectively than just popping a pill every day.
Still have questions? Register for the FREE Online Medicinal Supplements Summit to learn more specific details about how nutritional supplements can benefit your health, and how to choose the right ones for you.