In efforts to live a healthier life, many of us try different ways of changing habits in our daily lives. Taking vitamin supplements is a tempting way to add more nutrition in our lives. You might feel that you do not eat enough leafy greens or that you should probably eat a few more vegetables. It is natural to want to boost certain vitamins you are missing out on by taking supplements. But, are vitamin supplements good for you? Do they make a significant difference in your health?
If you do not get enough vitamin C, just take some vitamin C supplements, right? Not exactly. According to Professor Susan Mayne from the Yale School of Public Health, vitamins taken out of the context of food are not as nutritionally effective as eating food containing those vitamins. Vitamin rich foods like fruits and vegetables also contain phytochemicals. The combination of these in food seem to be much better for your nutrition than taking vitamin supplements on their own. Eating a healthy diet and getting your vitamins through food is much more effective than taking vitamin supplements.
When Should You Take Supplements?
You might be asking yourself, “Is there any situation where taking vitamin supplements is a good idea?” Professor Meir Stampfer from the Harvard School of Public Health recommends that adults take a multivitamin as a part of their daily routine. Also, if you do not get a lot of sun exposure, take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Women, especially, have a higher risk of osteoporosis as they age, and taking vitamin D supplements can help lower that risk.
Talk with your doctor about your diet and if they think it is necessary to take vitamin supplements. Also, during an annual physical, your doctor will tell you if you have any nutritional deficiencies they come across in your blood work. The doctor may recommend taking vitamin supplements to improve your overall health.
Beware of False Claims
The dietary supplement market is a multi-billion dollar industry. Many supplements claim to offer different cures. It is tempting to find a fast cure or remedy for your ailment, but you should take extreme caution when considering these “cures.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, dietary supplements are not considered a form of treatment for diseases because they are not proven to be effective or safe. DO NOT take supplements as an attempt to cure your disease. See your doctor or specialist with your health conditions. As professionals, they can diagnose and treat conditions based on science and proven methods.
Eat Your Veggies!
Taking individual vitamin supplements are not bad for you unless you take too much. If you already eat a healthy diet, taking supplements will not harm you, but may have no benefit either. The best way to get your daily vitamins is eating vitamin rich food, period.