8 Myths About Vitamin Supplements

8 Myths About Vitamin Supplements

Always remind yourself that a healthy and diverse diet is the best way to get the nutrients you need.

For decades, vitamin and mineral supplements have brought health benefits. Many Americans believe that these two types of substances help lower their chances of getting a cold or flu and boost their health in a super busy world. So it's no wonder the supplement industry is booming.

Read: 5 Tips for Choosing Vitamin Supplements for Children

Zinc encourages the body to limit colds; vitamin D builds bones and improves immunity, and B vitamins help combat the effects of stress. Even America's favorite prehistoric family (also known as "The Flintstones") formulated the perfect pill to protect the health of our children.

But is that the truth or just a marketing technique?

Knowing the difference between science and fiction when it comes to supplements can be challenging. There is little scrutiny, a lot of misinformation, and a lot of controversies. So before you swallow the capsules again, consider 8 myths about this vitamin supplement:

8 Myths About Vitamin Supplements

1. Myth about vitamin supplements: The first myth about Vitamin Supplements

Myth: Taking multivitamins can replace a poor diet and prevent diseases.

Fact: The fact is that scientists are still undecided about whether multivitamins are effective. Some studies show multis protect against premature death. Others point out that they do not provide benefits.

On the one hand, food is the first and always the most important thing as the best recipe for the nutrients the body needs. Nature packs vitamins and minerals in perfect combination and benefits our body with undiscovered nutrients as well. Well, the dietary supplement aims to supplement the diet, not replace it.

2. The second myth about Vitamin Supplements

Myth: Because supplements are natural, they are all safe.

Fact: Everything that has the potential to heal is also potentially dangerous. Although nutrients are of natural origin, when manufacturers process them into pill form, they become unnatural.

What's more, being natural doesn't necessarily mean it's safe or effective. After all, arsenic is natural but is carcinogenic (the cause of cancer), so it is not safe for consumption.

3.  The Third Myth about Vitamin Supplements

Myth: You should not overdose on vitamins.

Fact: If you take vitamins and minerals and consume fortified cereal foods and exercise (which often contain 100 percent or more of the recommended dietary allowances for certain vitamins and minerals), you may be overdoing it.

You can even damage vital organs in the process. Too much vitamin A can affect the liver and, in pregnant women, can cause birth defects in their babies; an excess of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage; and too much vitamin C can turn the well-known antioxidant into a pro-oxidant (which damages the body's cells), not to mention diarrhea.

4. The fourth myth about Vitamin Supplements

Myth: Supplements are strictly regulated.

Fact: Unlike prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine whether a dietary supplement is safe and effective before marketing it. Instead, the consumer is in the hands of the producer.

But that doesn't mean there are no safeguards. Once the dietary supplement is on the market, both the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitor label information to make sure product claims aren't misleading, but they're understaffed enough that the vetting process isn't necessarily 100% verified.

There is a small group of regulatory organizations, including the US Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and the National Science Foundation, Until BPOM issues a seal of approval for items that are correctly made and contain the substances specified on the label. However, those groups did not determine whether how it worked was effective.

5. The fifth myth about Vitamin Supplements

Myth: Supplements are never necessary.

Fact: Dietary supplements may be beneficial to certain populations and to help manage various conditions. Examples include:

A person on a calorie-restricted diet who may benefit from multivitamins and minerals

A person allergic to milk who may benefit from calcium and vitamin D

A vegetarian who could benefit from vitamin B12 supplementation

Pregnant women who benefit from taking folic acid

The jury is out on many supplements, but most experts believe the product only helps if you are deficient in certain nutrients. Women who lose a lot of iron due to heavy menstrual bleeding, for example, may need additional iron supplements, while those in menopause may need additional calcium and vitamin D.

6. Myth about vitamin supplements: Supplements do not interact with drugs.

Fact: Certain supplements, including vitamin K (which helps with blood clotting), zinc (which some belief boosts immunity), and omega-3 (which thins the blood), may interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications.

When you take aspirin daily to protect yourself from heart disease or you are taking antibiotics for bacterial infections, the supplements you take can interfere with or enhance the effects of your medications. You should always share with your doctor and pharmacist a list of any supplements you are currently taking to help avoid these negative interactions.

7. Myth about vitamin supplements: Vitamins and other supplements should be taken on an empty stomach.

Fact: Many vitamins are water-soluble, which means they can be absorbed by the body at practically any time of day, regardless of what's in your stomach. However, four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) can only be absorbed with fat. If you are taking a multivitamin that contains fat-soluble vitamins, it is better to take it with a little amount of low-fat food. Furthermore, many people experience nausea while taking vitamins on an empty stomach.

8. Myth about vitamin supplements: Supplements always fit together.

Fact: Some supplements help each other, like teammates. Vitamin C, for instance, aids the body's absorption of iron. The others are really working against each other. For example, calcium blocks the absorption of iron, and zinc blocks the absorption of copper. So taking high doses of one nutrient can actually lead to a deficiency of another.

To be on the safe side, tell your doctor about every supplement you take, even if you think it is harmless. Many vitamins and minerals, as well as herbal supplements, have side effects ranging from rashes to abdominal pain. They may also interact with other drugs and vitamins.