There are a lot of myths about taking vitamin and mineral supplements. For certain people, added vitamins are necessary to maintain or improve health. For others, supplements can be harmful when used inappropriately. Before you embark on a vitamin regimen, here are some things to consider.
Myth: Vitamin supplements can make up for bad habits.
Truth: Supplements are not miracle workers to replace a well-balance diet. Nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, provide multiple benefits that you cannot get with vitamin supplements. You still need to eat well most of the time to have good health. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help with certain health conditions or needs, but you cannot expect them to be “magical.”
Myth: You cannot get all the nutrients you need through diet alone.
Truth: This is sometimes true. Most people do get the nutrients they need by eating a well-balanced diet. People with special nutritional needs, such as women who are pregnant, older adults or athletes, may need to take vitamin supplements to provide extra nutrients which cannot be derived through diet alone. Added B-12 is recommended for adults over the age of 50. Adults who do not get much sunlight exposure may want to take a vitamin D supplement. Folic acid is important for women who want to get pregnant or who are currently pregnant, and many obstetricians recommend a supplement.
Myth: If some is good, more must be better.
Truth: Too much of a good thing can be bad for your health. Too much vitamin A can be bad for your bones. Too much iron can lead to a higher risk of death. Sometimes, taking too much of a certain vitamin or mineral can negatively affect your health. You should always talk to your doctor about the risks associated with any supplements you are taking.
Talk to Your Doctor About Any Supplements You Take
Before adding vitamins and minerals to your diet through supplements, you should talk to your doctor or nutritionist. Make good choices about your health. If you are already taking supplements, ask if you should continue. Even if you are in good health, your doctor needs to know everything you take to provide good advice to you.
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