Be sincere, when was the last time you ate the recommended four to eight servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day? Despite our best efforts to eat a balanced diet, there are days you fall short of the suggested daily amount of nutrients.
Most people resort to using dietary supplements to meet their required intake of nutrients. You are not alone if you are part of the people who take supplements each day. From vitamin A to fish oil to zinc and niacin pills, people have been using these essential supplement tips for decades. When they came into the market in 1940, people went in numbers to stores, getting these magical pills to improve their health and well-being.
These supplements are everywhere. They are usually used for filling nutritional gaps, especially for certain groups of people like children, pregnant women, menopausal women, vegetarians, and people with food allergies. These people need a higher percentage of a certain nutrient.There are even supplements for cognitive function improvement for people young and old.
Amid the noise, it isn’t easy to know which supplement is good for you. Even though supplements are a good addition to your health, you need to know that the safety and effectiveness of these supplements are still scientifically unknown. To use your supplements safely every day, keep these tips in mind:
1. Know the Right Dosage
When taking supplements, make sure you stick to the dosage recommendations on the label or consult your doctor. Remember, these supplements only provide additional nutrients to the ones you get from your daily food.
There is no health benefit in getting more of a particular vitamin or mineral. In fact, too much of certain vitamins or minerals can cause discomfort and side effects like vomiting or diarrhea. Moreover, in more severe cases, it can cause liver damage.
Always be careful when it comes to the following supplements:
- Vitamin A, D, and E
These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means the body stores the excess vitamins in your liver and fat tissues. Some vitamins are water-soluble, which means they can go through the body with low side effects. Fat-soluble vitamins can rise to toxic levels if taken in surplus over a long period.
Iron is a necessary mineral for the body. Its main function includes carrying oxygen to the body tissues. It is also essential for brain function, maintaining muscle, and boosting the immune system.
However, taking iron more than the body needs is not healthy, especially for the heart and liver. Iron overdose can cause depression, fatigue, sexual impotence, and joint pain. Extreme doses can damage body organs or even lead to death. You should consult your doctor first before taking iron supplements.
2. Use as Directed
Using your supplements as directed is more than following the dosage. You must read the label of the prescription and understand how these supplements can interact with the other drugs you take or the food you eat.
- Always use your supplements according to the descriptions on the label. For easy absorption, some essential supplements are best taken with food while you have to take some on an empty stomach. Certain supplements can affect the efficacy of some medications like antacids and antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about your other medications and the supplements you are taking for potential interactions.
- Choose single supplements – supplements that contain just a single ingredient are less likely to have high levels of contamination.
3. Read Labels
Labels can be confusing, and this is why you should read them carefully. Before you buy a certain supplement, always ensure you do thorough research. Supplements can’t treat or cure illnesses. Here are some necessary things to watch out for when considering buying a particular supplement:
- Claims That Look Too Good to Be True
Many brands boast of unrealistic health benefits and results. Stay away from any brand that boasts of dramatic breakthrough or that claims to be a quick fix. Before you buy, check out for third party verification on the bottle.
- Natural or Organic Claims
For most of us, whenever we see the word natural or organic, we assume that the products are safe with zero side effects. However, all supplements can cause potential side effects or interact with other medications. Read everything on the product label. Many credible companies provide their consumers with information on where they get their organic products, and they are always proud to share. Buying from large and well-known brands is safer.
4. Never Substitute for Food
These vitamins and minerals can only serve as supplements to your daily meals, but they should never take the place of real food. No matter what your goal is, one thing is certain; they can’t replace a healthy diet. Don’t underestimate what a nutrient-dense diet will do for your body when compared to a pill from a factory.
Vitamins and minerals essential to the body; these nutrients help the body to develop and function properly. While most people get all the nutrients they need by eating well, some people still need more nutrients for their bodies. Follow these tips and learn how to provide your body with all the extra support it needs to stay healthy and safe.
Hannah Gilbert is a professional editor, content strategist, and a part of gahmj team. Apart from writing, Mary is passionate about hiking and gaming. Feel free to contact her via Facebook