10 Important Things You Should Know Before Taking Supplements
Thinking about taking supplements? It’s important to brush up on the facts when it comes to taking a supplement for the first time. While more than half of American adults take supplements of some kind, and while supplements are perfectly legal, they do come with side effects. For example, some supplements can increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding during surgery, while others can cause more minor side effects, such as nausea.
Of course, supplements can have a profoundly positive effect on your life, too. They can help you lose weight or gain muscle, for example. But it’s still key that you do your homework before taking a supplement for the first time.
Let’s take a look at these…
10 Things you should know about supplements
Too Many Vitamins Isn’t a Good Thing
One of the reasons you might take a supplement is to increase the amount of vitamins you’re consuming. While that’s a very noble reason to take a supplement, it’s important to know that you body reacts badly if you consume too many vitamins and minerals.
Your body needs vitamins, true. But it only needs a specific amount. For example, if you consume too much vitamin B, you might end up with nerve pain.
Excess vitamin C in your system, meanwhile, can cause nausea.
Before you start taking vitamin supplements, educate yourself on how much you can take before you’re basically overdoing it.
Most Supplements Turn Into Waste
And when we talk about waste, we mean bodily waste.
In other words, while your body will absorb some of the supplements you take, you will urinate and excrete most of it out. It won’t do you any harm, but it’s kind of a waste, isn’t it?
There is a Difference Between Fat-Soluble and Water-Soluble Vitamins
Not all vitamin supplements are the same. Some are fat-soluble, while others are water-soluble.
What’s the difference and why is it important?
Essentially, a fat-soluble vitamin is stored by your body for longer, while a water-soluble vitamin takes only what it needs before dispensing of the rest via your urine. If you take water-soluble vitamin supplements, you’ll notice that you need to use the bathroom more.
It’s important that you know the difference because fat-soluble vitamins are the ones you really want to avoid taking too many of. Because your body stores them over the long-term, taking too many too quickly means your system will be building up excess vitamins. And this is when side effects can arise.
We all take supplements because we want them to work, but what you need to have is patience. A supplement isn’t a magic miracle cure that works instantly. It takes time for any supplement to be effective.
How long? It can take as much as 12 weeks for you to feel any effect.
Supplements are Legal – But Not Massively Regulated
Just because something is legal, that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. Take a look at alcohol! When consumed in large quantities, alcohol can even be deadly.
Supplements are legal and they are regulated – but not hugely so.
Because the Food and Drug Administration classified supplements as food as opposed to a drug, the claims of each product aren’t verified. Nor is their effectiveness.
The FDA will test new ingredients, but only ones that haven’t been used on the market before.
As such, it’s basically up to you the consumer to do your own research on what you buy. Just because something is on the shelves, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to have harmful side effects. Don’t trust the label but do your own research first.
Know When to Take a Supplement
For a supplement to be effective, you need to get the timing just right. If you take a vitamin at the wrong time, it won’t be as effective as it could be.
For this reason, do your research. If you’re taking a vitamin B supplement, research the best time to take it.
You Might Not Even Need Supplements
Before you take supplements, you need to ask yourself, “but do I really need to take these?”
Not everyone needs supplements. If you already eat a well-balanced diet that’s rich in fruit, veg, grains and so on, it’s highly unlikely that you need to take supplements too.
Our recommendation? If you’re healthy and you know that your diet is good, avoid supplements.
Smoking Kinda Makes Taking Supplements Redundant
If you smoke, you can of course still take supplements. But their effects might be dulled. How so?
Smoking prevents your body from properly absorbing vitamins D and C. As such, you could take supplements, only for them to have zero effect.
The problem then is that you might be tempted to take more of them, which can cause an overdose of vitamins. And as we mentioned earlier, that’s not cool.
If you smoke, it’s a good idea to try very hard to quit – whether you’re taking supplements or not!
Multivitamins Might Have Zero Benefits
Heard about multivitamins? They sound pretty amazing, huh? After all, it’s not just one, two or even three vitamins you’re getting here – it’s multiple vitamins!
Unfortunately, multivitamins might not be as awesome as they sound. Studies have shown that multivitamins actually have no benefit. The research is still tentative, but at this point it looks like a good idea to avoid multivitamin supplements.
You Don’t Always Need To Pay More For Good Supplements
The general consensus is always that, the more expensive something is, the better it is.
This most certainly isn’t always the case in the world of supplements.
Supplement makers know that their consumers are a tad anxious about supplements. They know that these anxious consumers will pay higher prices on the assumption that expensive = safer and better.
And so they raise their prices, despite their products being of a low quality.
The best way to assess quality is to look for independent certification, which you will find on the bottle.
What are your thoughts about taking supplements? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Stay happy and healthy!