To be honest, no one eats the suggested 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. No matter how hard you might try to eat a balanced diet, it is always going to be hard to intake the recommended amount of certain nutrients. That is precisely why many people today intake those nutrients by taking vitamin supplements. They can help you receive all the nutrients your body is missing and can be especially beneficial for certain groups of people including women in menopause, pregnant women, vegetarians, vegans and people who suffer from food allergies. If you don’t have any experience with taking dietary supplements, but you are considering to include some to your diet, there are few important things you should know.
Follow the Recommended Dosage
Always stick to the recommended dosage suggested by your doctor or the one that’s printed on the label. There are no benefits of taking more than it should, instead, getting more vitamins or minerals than you need may lead to some uncomfortable side effects. Be especially careful with the following supplements:
- Vitamins A, D and E are “fat-soluble” vitamins which means your body will store the surplus in your fat tissue and liver. While most of the vitamin supplements can pass through your body without causing some serious side effects, fat-soluble vitamins can build-up toxic levels over time.
- Iron is an important mineral and one that carries oxygen to your tissues. It maintains brain and muscle function and immensely aids the immune system. If you take iron more than you need, this mineral can built-up toxic levels in your liver and heart causing symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, depression and even sexual impotence.
Take as Directed
Take as directed doesn’t mean just pay attention to the dosage, but also to other things like how the supplements are interacting with other medications you are taking (if any). So, keep in mind these few things:
- Always take vitamin supplements according to the directions on the label. Some supplements are best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach while others need to be taken with food.
- Certain supplements can affect the efficiency and absorption of other medications. So make sure you talk to your doctor about the supplements and medications you are taking and their potential interactions.
Read Labels Carefully
Labels can be confusing and that is why they require close attention. There are no supplements that can cure or treat diseases, so they shouldn’t claim such a thing. Also, they need to feature appropriate nutritional and ingredients labelling. Here are a few other important things to double check:
- Natural or organic claims;
- Products that claim to be free from side effects;
- Claims that are too good to be true.
Once you decide to take supplements, it is crucial to stay up-to-date. Your doctor is your best resource for answering all your questions related to the supplements you are planning to take. Also, keep in mind that vitamin supplements aren’t a replacement for real food and they need to be properly stored.