Should You Take Dietary Supplements?

    We all need our recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals each day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some get everything they need through their regular diet, while others take dietary supplements in order to stay as healthy as possible. Suppliers like Makers Nutrition are more than happy to provide options for supplements, and there are several reasons to consider them.

    Why you might need supplements

    Reasons could range from health deficiencies to supplementing a specific diet (such as a vegan/vegetarian diet) for maximum effectiveness. Women who are pregnant might take prenatal vitamins to cover any lacking nutrients or iron supplements. While these supplements are intended for positive effects, they can be misused or abused just like anything else.

    It’s best to make sure you actually need them beforehand and establish a safe routine for taking them. It’s also best to ensure you’re getting all supplements from a trustworthy source, as quality goes largely unregulated in some cases. Manufacturers partnering with health professionals are generally your best bet.

    See your doctor

    When considering any kind of supplement, consulting your doctor should be your first step. You’ll likely have lots of questions, especially if you’re looking at a supplement that claims to help with a specific condition. A doctor is most likely to recommend supplements if you have nutritional deficiencies or other health issues. If you’re already in good health and have established a good diet, the odds of a recommendation decrease sharply, and it’s best to listen. Improper or unnecessary use of supplements can be very dangerous.

    While it’s a topic of debate amongst healthcare professionals whether vitamins/minerals do the same thing in pill form as their natural counterparts, it’s undeniable that you can get toxic amounts of vitamins through the misuse of supplements. For example, too much vitamin A increases the chances of bone problems later in life, and if abused for extended periods, it can even cause blood vessels to harden.

    Getting too much vitamin E leads to increased likelihood of heart failure. Milder effects of supplement abuse can range from nausea to light cramping throughout the day. Experiencing any strange sensations after starting a supplement routine should be treated as an urgent warning.

    Supplement types

    In general, there are two main kinds of supplements, and they are categorized by how the body absorbs them. This changes how they should be taken, as well as their long term effects.

    Water soluble supplements are easily absorbed by the body and can be taken on an empty stomach. Because of this, many choose to take these when they wake up. They’re also the safer variety since any excess vitamins/minerals get expelled through urine instead of stored in the body.

    Fat soluble supplements are a different story. As their name suggests, these are absorbed through body fat, and they are best taken with a meal containing saturated fats to aid this process. Any excess vitamins from these get stored in the liver, making them a higher risk than their water soluble counterparts and particularly inadvisable for anyone with liver problems.

    Establish your routine

    Everyone has different diets, so everyone will have different needs when it comes to a supplement routine. Of course, getting everything you need naturally is always the recommendable option, but when this isn’t possible, it’s best to look to the Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines to decide what’s still needed and how to get it.

    There are some generally recommended supplements for certain people as well. For example, anyone over 50 is often recommended a vitamin B12 supplement. Those who don’t get much sunlight are recommended to take a vitamin D supplement. You’ll need to think about how your supplements compliment your diet for each day and stick to a plan of meals to ensure effectiveness.

    It’s also a good idea to ask your doctor about any possible interactions between supplements and prescription drugs you may be taking. This can seem like a lot to take in at first, but it’s worth the effort. There’s nothing more important than your health.