With so much recent information about supplements and vitamins, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not worth your time.
The reality of health today is that many people are deficient in a lot of key vitamins. That’s why these supplements are so beneficial to the majority of the population. It’s hard to eat a completely balanced diet 100% of the time, and these vitamins help fill essential gaps. Here is everything you need to know about vitamins so you can make sure you’re making the most of these helpful supplements.
Synthetic vs. Natural
Some vitamins are derived from natural sources while others are synthetic. While most people believe natural is always better, some synthetic supplements are actually easier for your body to absorb than their natural counterparts. This is most apparent with B vitamins. The natural vitamin B12 is difficult to digest naturally for a big percentage of the population, and this leads to deficiencies.
Including foods fortified with B12 and other B vitamins is a good first step, but including a supplement will help ensure your body absorbs the right nutrients. Only buying from the best supplement brands assures quality and potency.
Know the Limits
While taking a daily vitamin is a smart move, don’t think you should start overdoing it. There is such thing as too many vitamins, and some are even dangerous to misuse. One of the most common problems of supplement “overdose” is liver damage since your body can’t process that much of one vitamin. When in doubt, talk to your doctor about the right dosage for your body type and age.
If you’re currently taking other medications, you’ll need to be extra careful with your supplements. Some medications can affect the way your body absorbs supplements, and that might cause an unwanted interaction.
Some vitamins are more likely to cause an unwanted interaction than others. Beware of taking ginkgo, digitalis, willow, or St. John’s wort if you’re taking certain medications like aspirin or insulin. Once again, talk to your doctor before starting a new medication to make sure it’s safe with your current vitamin regiment.
Did you know there are right and wrong ways of storing your vitamins? If you’re storing them on your counter, you might be rendering them useless. For instance, some supplements with oil, like fish oil, actually need to be refrigerated to retain their powerful elements. This is mostly only important for oils and probiotics, but you should still be careful to read the label to ensure you’re keeping them in the right environment.
Know Your Body
Not all vitamins are created equally. At least, not for your body. As you age, your body needs different levels of vitamins and minerals. These are not consistent amounts that won’t change throughout your life. For example, women are more prone to osteoporosis, therefore they might want to add a calcium supplement into their daily routine. Similarly, pregnant women need higher iron, so they might take an iron supplement.
What you choose to take also depends on your diet. Vegetarians and vegans are likely to need B12 since it hard to absorb it outside of animal products. Looking into the foods that are staples in your diet will help you decide what vitamins are most important for your lifestyle.
Finally, remember that you can’t count on vitamins and supplements alone to replace your healthy diet. While it’s true vitamins will help keep your body healthy, you still need to maintain a healthy diet full of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains. Never think of your vitamins like an insurance policy that lets you eat whatever you want without consequences. Instead, think of them like a nice boost and a safety net, not something you rely on 100% for nutrients.
It’s undeniable that vitamins and supplements can be a healthy choice, especially if you’re not confident you’re eating your nutrients every day. We all have something to gain from examining our diet and finding ways to improve, but having the help of a supplement will bridge any gaps left at the end of the day. Just make sure you keep these things above in mind when selecting the right vitamin regimen for your body.