What You Need to Know Before Starting Supplements

There’s currently a $37 billion industry revolving around multivitamins, supplements, protein powders, and the like. While these health products have been around for quite a while, we can definitely attribute their popularity in recent years to the onset of the global pandemic. In fact, a report from the Nutrition Business Journal showed a record-breaking 24% increase in supplement sales in 2020, as most people focused on improving their health and fitness. But before you join in on the trend, here are some things you should consider before starting supplements.

Assess Your Daily Diet

Supplements are essentially products you can turn to when you aren’t receiving the right amount of micronutrients in your diet and everyday life. This means that for someone who’s already maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, supplements might not be necessary at all! This is why you should first look into your meals and assess your intake. If you regularly consume vegetables, fruits, grains, and other high-fiber foods we mentioned in our feature on Diet Foods, you wouldn’t need the extra intake of fiber through supplementation. Again, multivitamins are meant to address any nutritional gaps; this also ensures that you won’t have to worry about overdosing or having any excess micronutrients.

Consult A Health Professional

When in doubt, it’s always best to consult your doctor or your personal dietitian to make sure you’re getting the right supplements for your needs, especially if you’re already taking other medications to treat other existing conditions. One thing to note is that some vitamins can lessen the efficacy of other medications. Vitamin K, for instance, can be dangerous for people taking blood-thinning medications as it can reduce the latter’s effectiveness. Moreover, the FDA recommends consumers to be more cautious about their intake, as they are quite loose with how they regulate supplements. This is why it’s highly recommended to get the go signal from a qualified professional first.

Do Your Research

Besides seeking the approval of a health professional, it’s also best to do your own research. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information online to help you get started. SymptomFind.com has several health guides on widely-used supplements like zinc and folic acid, as well as multivitamin dosage and supplement tips. As consumers, it’s also our responsibility to thoroughly research manufacturers and only purchase supplements from reputable sources. It’s also helpful to visit sites like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FDA, and the US Department of Agriculture to cross-check ingredients, rather than solely relying on information from the sellers, which can be quite biased.

Too many supplements can have adverse effects

Vitamins and minerals are needed for the body to operate properly, but only in certain amounts. Having too much of certain ones can be as dangerous as having too little. For example, the NIH explains how excessive intake of vitamin A can also lead to increased intracranial pressure, dizziness, nausea, headaches, bone, and joint pain, and in the worse cases, coma or death. Be sure to check the upper intake level for the supplements you’re taking, as it can be different for each vitamin or mineral.

What supplements should I take?

Here are some of the most common vitamins and minerals and their main benefits:

  • Vitamin A

Fights infection, maintains healthy vision, ensures normal function of the immune system and organs, and slows down age-related decline

  • Vitamin B

Maintains brain function and memory, needed for normal metabolism or carbs, protein, and fats, and improves cholesterol levels

  • Vitamin C

Improves immune function, maintains skin and tissue health, strengthens bones and teeth

  • Vitamin D

Influences immune cell function, maintains nervous system functions, improves bone health

  • Vitamin E

Protects cells from toxins, maintains muscle function

  • Vitamin K

Helps in wound healing, creates strong bones

  • Calcium

Improves muscle function, helps achieve healthy blood pressure, maintains strong bones and teeth

  • Iron

Improves immune function, provides energy, carries oxygen in the blood

  • Zinc

Improves immune function, improves memory

Overall, supplements can be a great way to deliver the necessary vitamins and minerals to your body. But it’s also best to be mindful of your diet, and avoid using supplements to cheat your way past healthy eating. For more health, beauty, and lifestyle articles, do visit our blog here at blog here at FitBeautyBlog.com.