Seven myths about dietary supplements you need to bust

Diet Supplements

Dietary supplements are big business, and people are buying those more often to improve their health, as well as other benefits. However, that has not stopped the abundant misconceptions surrounding them, as evidenced by a certain product review magazine that published an alarmist review of dietary supplements in general.

The mainstream media has had a longtime problem with dietary supplements, and you may not even be sure if they are good for you anyway. Scientific articles have been positively reviewing the effects of supplements, but this has not helped much in their reputation. Well, how would you know what to believe and what beliefs you should discard? Here are some of them.

Supplements do not have their own risks

Not really. The high rate of deaths resulting from food poisoning, as well as people getting hospitalized, should alert agencies on the most important thing – educating the public on the possible risks of these supplements. In fact, the rate on average stands at 128,000 hospitalizationsand 3,000 deaths, all which can be prevented easily if people have the right information. In other words, just because you see a supplement is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), does not guarantee its safety.

Even though life is not free of risks, do your best to ensure you do not put your own health in danger. Before deciding to go for any supplement such as Siberian chaga, make sure you consult your doctor on the risks it may have for you. Just because it worked for someone else, does not mean it will do the same for you.

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In addition, keep in mind that general drugs, or pharmaceuticals, carry inherent risks while food supplements will be benign, for the most part.

Some supplements are the same as any prescription drug

Supplements are not a class of food, not drugs. Therefore, you do not expect pharmaceuticals to be the same as them. This is something that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) has continually proven since 2010 – so the problem does not stem from dietary supplements.

All multivitamins are equal

The truth is that the term ‘multivitamin’ has no actual definition, at least not in the legal sense. It is a term that manufacturers use to refer to products that give you two or more vitamins – this can also include phytochemicals and minerals.

In addition, there are many multivitamins that will offer you different benefits, based on the vitamins they contain. For instance, the B-group of vitamins will have widely varying effects on your body, and many of them will even give your body more quantities of nutrients than it actually requires.

The lesson here is you should always read the labels. You will be surprise to get a ‘multi’ vitamin that does not go more than 100 percent in terms of the DV for nutrients, or daily value.

What you see on the label is what is actually there

While it is true that manufacturers of different supplements must list out all the ingredients they have used, as well as their quantities, they are actually not obligated to show the accuracy of what they have said.

The FDA does not really check on them either – it could be due to a lack of sufficient resources. Many times, more often than you may want to know, the labels will; not match with the contents of your supplement. Even more so, a manufacturer can pay to have their products tested by the Consumer organization ConsumersLab.com, if they want to ensure that their product does not have contaminants, it contains what they say it contains, and it dissolves efficiently in the body.

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Once these products pass this scrutiny, they are eligible for ‘special’ seals. These include the USP seal, or an endorsement from ConsumerLab.com, as well as other established brands.

The calcium from natural sources is the same as calcium supplements

The truth is more complicated than that – minerals and vitamins actually occur in a variety of forms, and not all these forms function in the same ways. For instance, a study that was done by the ADA (American Dietetic Association) revealed that a glass of orange juice that was fortified with calcium citrate was absorbed 48 percent faster and more efficiently by the body, compared to the same glass fortified with a different form of calcium.

If you are confused by the efficiency of the supplements your taking, that is where a dietician can come in. they will advise you on the forms of minerals and vitamins that the body absorbs better than others, and this will give you a better idea on how to consume them.

The structure and function claims of supplements are backed by scientific research

The functions and structures of each ingredient actually describe what it intends to do in your body, but here is the thing – the research that is within the claim often has no scientific backing. If you would like to know about that, always examine the packaging – it is always written in small font that the FDA does not back the validity of these statements, and the product cannot be used as a cure, diagnosis, prevention or treatment tool for any illnesses.

What this tells you is that every claim you see, is purely a marketing strategy, so do not always believe the hype. Always be careful when buying these products – it goes back to the first statement.

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‘Studies show’ before a statement means there was some clinical research done on the statement.

Most of the time, this does not apply either. Many studies will tell you that the benefits the supplement offers are observational, for instance in terms of your physical health or exercise, then it will link to some statistical data to identify your risks of illness.

Surveys will always show that when you combine supplement intake with other healthy habits, the risks of getting illnesses will reduce, so it is difficult to single out only one protective factor.

Final thoughts

The increase in supplement use shows that people are getting more aware of their own health. However, beware of the hype you see, do not fall for anything just because it is popular, and make sure to combine it with other healthy habits.

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