Myths about dietary supplements?
Yes, we are serious.
You may realize or not, there are some questions that arise automatically in our minds. For some questions we have answers, but for others, we have no clue!.
Well, the situation is tricky, especially with the much negative news and misinformation about dietary supplements in society.
But strange is that there are so many varieties of supplements that are flowing in the market.
Many people still wonder why dietary supplements are sold without a doctor’s prescription.
Since these supplements are readily available over the counter, some people claim that taking them in overdose can improve health and cure certain diseases.
This has led to the rise of more questions about supplements, and most of these questions remain unanswered.
But one thing is for sure,
dietary supplements are essential for people with an underlying health need. To live a healthy lifestyle, vitamin supplements hold a significant part of integrative medicine practice.
Thus, it can be difficult for consumers and patients to differentiate between myths and facts regarding dietary supplements.
But what science says regarding this issue?
Fortunately, you will have definite answers to your concerns after reading this text.
In this article, you will learn about 10 common myths with facts about dietary supplements through science.
- Myth #1: Taking Multivitamin Supplements Can Compensate for a Poor Diet
- Myth #2: Dietary Supplements Are Not Regulated
- Myth #3: Dietary Supplements Are Unsafe
- Myth #4: All Products with Unapproved Drugs Are Dietary Supplements
- Myth #5: There is No Harm in Taking Many Dietary Supplements
- Myth #6: Supplements Are Not Necessary
- Myth #7: There is No Harm in Taking Supplements Along with Regular Medicine
- Myth #8: Dietary Supplements Are More Effective When Taken on an Empty Stomach
- Myth #9: A Combination of Any Supplement will Play Well
- 10. Myth: Taking a Mega Vitamin C Dose Will Help Your Cold
Myth #1: Taking Multivitamin Supplements Can Compensate for a Poor Diet
The most common claim by many people is that multivitamin supplements can provide the body with the same nutrients you would get from a balanced diet. But this is not always the case.
Dietary supplements can help the body, but by no means can they replace food or a balanced diet.
The fact is that multivitamin supplements are beneficial in the body, but they are not sufficient enough to replace a diet.
Health researchers have held that there is no reliable evidence to prove that multivitamins only will make you healthier.
There are claims that multivitamins can prevent premature deaths and chronic illnesses. However, the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine‘ unveils that there is no substantial health benefit from taking multivitamins.
Therefore, the most efficient way to obtain nutrients is by eating a balanced diet. Nutrients derived from food will then work together in various ways to benefit your body.
Myth #2: Dietary Supplements Are Not Regulated
The mainstream media may tell that dietary supplements are unregulated and that consumers are at the manufacturers’ hands.
Some people also believe that there are no safety measures put in place in the manufacture processes of dietary supplements.
Although dietary supplements are not regulated and tested like drugs, there are overseers of their manufacturing process.
Dietary supplements companies are subject to various regulations, including the FDA and Federal Trade Commission.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994 with the U.S. Congress’ consent to establish a legal definition for dietary supplements as a separate type of product to supplement the diet.
This act also established the structure in which the FDA regulates the dietary supplement industry.
These regulatory frameworks ensure the safety and correct labeling of the dietary supplements as food, but not drugs.
There is also a small group of oversight organizations such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia, National Science Foundation, and Consumer Lab, who approve seals to correctly manufactured dietary supplements.
However, though there is adequate regulation of the dietary supplement manufacturing process, the overseers do not determine whether they are effective.
Myth #3: Dietary Supplements Are Unsafe
While most adults in society consume dietary supplements to back up their health, some people believe that these supplements are not safe. But this is a delusion, as it is not scientifically verified.
Most dietary supplements are safe products but should not be taken in overdose.
Today, more than 68% of adult humans in the U.S. take dietary supplements to boost their health and general well-being.
While many journals support the myth that dietary supplements are unsafe, their claims focus only on the fact that supplements products are tested for pre-market approval required for all drugs.
But they miss out on the point that dietary supplements are mainly derived from natural foods that do not require to adhere to the rules obligatory for drugs.
Today, the U.S. FDA is responsible for testing and approving supplement products’ safety and is encouraging medical practitioners to purchase legitimate products that have certification labels for their research.
This will help in reducing the misconceptions that dietary supplements are not safe.
Myth #4: All Products with Unapproved Drugs Are Dietary Supplements
It is also a widespread misconception in the media that all products with unapproved active pharmaceutical ingredients are dietary supplements and are dangerous.
According to the U.S. FDA, most dietary supplement companies are responsible, and they follow obligatory regulations.
As stated previously, the operations of supplement companies are regulated and overseen by various groups. This ensures that they produce high-quality products that can serve consumers’ needs effectively.
Although the unapproved drugs are labeled as dietary supplements, the truth is that they are legitimately classified as unapproved drugs.
These undeclared drugs are often the primary reason behind the prevalent misperceptions and negativity towards dietary supplements.
The leading categories of these unapproved drugs are the products for sexual enhancement, sports nutrition, weight management drugs.
You should keep in mind that ‘dietary supplements’ meant to offer drug-like results are usually mislabeled and should be avoided.
Myth #5: There is No Harm in Taking Many Dietary Supplements
In the 1990s, people believed in mega dosing of antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E, claiming that it can prevent or cure various illnesses like the common cold.
Even today, some people still believe in this claim, despite that there is no enough scientific evidence to prove the claim.
Scientists reveal there is no substantial evidence supporting the use of excess dosage of vitamins to prevent and cure diseases in humans.
The reality is that the mega-dosing of vitamins could destroy essential organs in the body, such as the liver.
Specialists indicate that too much vitamin A in pregnant women could lead to birth defects in their babies.
Additionally, over-consuming vitamin B6 and vitamin C often lead to nerve damage and body cells’ damage, respectively, not to mention diarrhea accompanied by such happenings.
Early laboratory studies revealed that excess vitamins and antioxidants in humans could increase cancer risks.
Before you think of taking large doses of any vitamin supplements, it is wise to talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. They will give you relevant information about safe dosages.
Myth #6: Supplements Are Not Necessary
Some people are firmly against dietary supplements, and they claim that these products are not helpful to the human body.
Others believe that whether you are healthy or deficient in a specific nutrient, supplement products will not help. However, this is not true.
Being manufactured with natural products, dietary supplements are essential for specific populations.
They can help individuals who suffer from certain deficiencies, pregnant women, vegans, and people who are allergic to milk.
Women and girls who lose a lot of blood in menstrual periods will often need iron supplements. Similarly, calcium and vitamin D supplements are necessary for those dealing with menopause.
While most experts advocate that people should take supplement products only when they are in deficiency, most people choose to supplement them with nutritious diets.
Thus, there is no harm in taking supplements provided you don’t overdo it.
Myth #7: There is No Harm in Taking Supplements Along with Regular Medicine
Many people who use dietary supplements assume that it is not harmful to take them with regular drugs since these products are natural. But this is a fallacy.
It is wrong to take dietary supplements along with conventional prescription drugs.
Some supplements like botanicals can hinder or speed up or decrease the absorption rate in the body.
Therefore, if you take them with some prescription drugs, they will limit or speed up the drug’s absorption into the bloodstream, making the drug ineffective or risky in the body.
Most herbal supplement companies fail to indicate possible drug-supplement interactions. That’s why the risk of combining prescription drugs with supplements remains a mystery to many people.
The best thing to do is to talk with your doctor about the supplements you use if you wish to take them along with other drugs.
Myth #8: Dietary Supplements Are More Effective When Taken on an Empty Stomach
This is an interesting one, isn’t it?
Many times, people think that vitamins and other dietary supplements are more efficient when taken on empty stomachs. But this is a myth.
Some vitamins are water-soluble, and others are fat-soluble.
The water-soluble vitamins can be absorbed in the body at any time of the day, but they can make you feel nausea when taken on an empty tummy.
Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K should be taken with at least some little food containing fats. Because they cannot be absorbed without fats.
Besides, taking dietary supplements could lead to stomach upsets. Experts recommend that supplements should be taken with food to improve absorption and boost general health.
It will be better to take multivitamin supplements with fatty foods like almond butter and avocado.
Myth #9: A Combination of Any Supplement will Play Well
Over the past many years, there is a major misconception. We believe that combining different supplements will make us healthier.
While some supplements can work well together, others work against each other when combined.
For instance, calcium will hinder the absorption of iron, and zinc will limit copper absorption. Hence such supplements should not be taken together.
Nonetheless, supplements like iron will work well when taken together with vitamin C.
To ensure that you are on the safe side, seek guidance from your doctor on how to take different supplements together.
10. Myth: Taking a Mega Vitamin C Dose Will Help Your Cold
The claim that excess vitamin C will fight your common cold is not scientifically proven. Hence, it’s a misconception.
An early meta-analysis study found that vitamin C can barely reduce common colds or prevent their occurrence.
Several trials to fight cold have included the use of vitamin C in the therapeutic processes, but they have yielded no definite change.
It may help to use small amounts of zinc supplements to shorten the cold duration, but they also cannot eliminate it.
With the many prevailing myths about dietary supplements, it might be difficult to differentiate between scientific facts and fiction, and this can leave consumers scared of using these products.
With what you have learned in this article, it will be easier now to tell the truth from mere lies around dietary supplement products.
You don’t have to believe every claim you hear from people and media about dietary supplements because some of them are not grounded by sufficient evidence.
If you think you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, do not hesitate to consult your doctor about dietary supplements.