We all understand the importance of supplementing our diet and exercise with additional vitamins and minerals. But it’s a challenge for many of us to make informed choices. Here is some information about nutritional supplements.
Since nutritional supplements are under little FDA regulation, many people don’t know where to start when choosing a supplement to take.
8 Facts About Nutritional Supplements
With that in mind, here are some facts to guide you when learning about and choosing a nutritional supplement.
- Don’t trust a “silver bullet”. Most studies on supplements are small, ill-designed, or short. So, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. [In general, vitamins and minerals tend to be best-evaluated.] When researching, look for multiple sources, especially third-party, medically-reviewed information.
- Not all supplements are safe. Just like a medicine, any supplement you take can produce side effects (and interact with your other medications). If you have experienced side effects, you can report them to the FDA via a website like WebMD. WebMD may also have valuable information about side-effects others have reported from a supplement you’re considering. So, don’t be afraid to do your homework.
- Consumerlab.com and USP (US Pharmacopeia) evaluate and certify supplements. Double-check anything you learn about a supplement with the information you find there.
- It’s important to ask your doctor before starting or continuing to take any nutritional supplements.
- If you’re pregnant or nursing, avoid taking nutritional supplements (unless your doctor recommends them).
- Don’t substitute supplements for prescriptions. They have different purposes (and different effects on) your body and your medical issues.
- Supplements don’t cancel out bad dietary decisions and other choices that are harmful to your health. They supplement/enhance the good choices we make.
- Don’t believe sensational claims. Nothing works 100% of the time for 100% of people, and there are no substances that can stop or reverse the aging process.
There’s no need to be afraid of taking a nutritional supplement. Just like any other choice, you make related to your health, asking your doctor and doing your due diligence will go a long way to finding the right solution for your needs.
Have a question about a particular supplement? Contact our medical weight loss professionals today.