How to Take Supplements – Read This Before Taking Vitamins!
Many people start their day by taking a vitamin supplement tablet after breakfast. You may have seen these line the shelves at your local pharmacy. Perhaps you take some to maintain good health and avoid getting various illnesses.
You can’t help but wonder if they work since you can find so many of them available. What are dietary supplements, anyway? What are their health benefits and side effects? More importantly, what is the safe way to take these vitamin and mineral supplements?
We will answer these questions together by talking about the definition of vitamins and minerals. This will help you understand how you can take these vitamin supplements safely. After that, we will also discuss how you can choose the right one for your well-being.
What are vitamin supplements?
Before we talk about the supplements, let’s elaborate on vitamins. These are substances that your body needs for cell growth and development.
For example, you need Vitamin D to help your bones grow properly. The B vitamins could help your brain and red blood cells function well.
You can find all these vitamins from food. Yet, you could take a dietary supplement if you lack a certain vitamin. Some people need these if they have certain health conditions.
They’re good for you, but you’re not supposed to take too many. Otherwise, you may put yourself at risk of getting side effects. That’s why you need to know the amount you can take safely.
We have two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. You need both, but you have to be careful with the dosage. Let’s discuss each one in more detail:
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As the name suggests, essential nutrients dissolve easily in water. This means that your kidneys eliminate any leftover traces by flushing them out as waste.
In turn, you also have a lower chance of building up a toxic amount of water-soluble vitamins in your body. However, you will have to take them periodically to maintain a healthy amount.
The only exception is vitamin B12 since it could stay in your liver for several years. Folks 50 years and above may need vitamin supplements to get enough B12.
You can usually get enough of these if you have a balanced diet. As I said, you may need supplements for water-soluble nutrients if you have certain medical conditions.
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Here is a list of water-soluble vitamins:
Also known as Thiamine, it’s part of an important enzyme for energy metabolism and nerve function. You can find it in pork, legumes (e.g., peanuts), nuts, seeds, and whole-grain bread.
This is also known as Riboflavin, and it’s another one of the B vitamins crucial for metabolism. It’s also important for normal vision and skin health. It’s present in milk and milk products, whole grains, cereals, enriched bread, and leafy green vegetables.
Otherwise known as Niacin, helps in metabolism and skin health. It maintains the proper function of your digestive and nervous systems. It is in peanut butter, whole-grain bread, cereals, poultry, fish, and meat. What’s more, it’s in leafy green vegetables, asparagus, and mushrooms.
This is another one of the B vitamins that you need for metabolism. Also known as Pyridoxine, it also helps with producing red blood cells. You can find it in fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, and meat.
Also known as Cobalamin, your body needs it to create new cells and maintain proper nerve function. Unlike the other B vitamins, you can’t find vitamin B12 in plant foods. Instead, it’s in seafood, eggs, milk and milk products, meat, and poultry.
This is also known as Ascorbic acid, and it helps with metabolism, iron absorption, and immune system maintenance. You can find vitamin C in a wide range of fruits and vegetables. You may recognize oranges and lemons as well-known sources of vitamin C.
You need this to metabolize carbohydrates and proteins and produce cholesterol and hormones. Biotin is in various foods, but the bacteria in your gut also produce it.
Your body needs this to make DNA and new red blood cells. Leafy green vegetables, orange juice, legumes, and seeds naturally contain folic acid. Some manufacturers may add Folic acid in refined grains.
You need this for metabolizing food and producing hormones and cholesterol. You can find this water-soluble vitamin in so many kinds of foods that it will take too long to list all of them!
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As the name suggests, these are nutrients that dissolve well in fat. You may think of them as the polar opposite of water-soluble vitamins. Unlike the latter, they can build up in your body.
The body’s cells store fat-soluble vitamins, so kidneys don’t expel them as easily. You can run out of them, so you will have to maintain the right amount in your body.
You could take in too much until the number of fat-soluble vitamins reaches toxic levels. For example, excessive vitamin D could cause vomiting and nausea.
Infants and young children should be especially careful about their vitamin D intake due to their small size. Also, vitamin A overdose is a larger problem in the US than deficiencies.
Here is a list of fat-soluble vitamins:
You may recognize this as the nutrient you need for better eyesight. Yet, this is one of the fat-soluble vitamins with many other health benefits. You can find vitamin A in fish, dairy products, and liver. It’s also in certain veggies such as carrots, apricots, and pumpkins.
This is one of the most well-known fat-soluble vitamins. Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” your body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Unlike other fat-soluble vitamins, you can find vitamin D from oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring.
One of the fat-soluble vitamins that protect other nutrients, namely vitamin A and C. Vitamin E also maintains red blood cells and fatty acids. It could reduce your chances of getting cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. Around 60% of vitamin E comes from vegetable oil. Like other fat-soluble vitamins, it’s also in nuts, grains, and seeds.
You need Vitamin K for normal blood clotting, proper bone health, and healthy protein production. Your intestinal bacteria produce vitamin K, but you can increase your body’s supply by eating green leafy vegetables.
What are mineral supplements?
After talking about vitamins, let’s now turn to minerals. If you’re thinking about the stuff mined underground, you’re not far-off. They’re the same ones you find in nutrient supplements!
Your body also needs minerals to function properly, and they provide benefits that are similar to vitamins. What’s more, you could take supplements if you’re deficient in any of them.
For example, you may need calcium citrate or calcium supplements if you have problems with your bones. Meanwhile, people with anemia may need iron supplements to help produce red blood cells.
You can divide them into two categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. Your body needs a larger amount of the former. Yet, this doesn’t mean that you need them more than trace minerals.
This just means that you have to be more careful with taking too much. All minerals and vitamins are generally safe, but you should take them only in safe amounts.
Here’s a list of macrominerals:
What’s more, here’s a list of trace minerals:
What is the proper way to take supplements?
This article took time explaining how minerals and vitamins work, so you can get the general idea of how they interact with your body. Let’s take water-soluble vitamins as an example.
You now know that it dissolves well in water, so it’s best to take its supplements after drinking this liquid. You can take them on an empty stomach!
On the other hand, it’s a good idea to eat a meal that has fat before taking fat-soluble vitamin supplements. Otherwise, an empty stomach gets in the way of optimal absorption.
Women may also take prenatal vitamins for pregnancy. It would be best to take them before getting pregnant. What’s more, it’s a good idea to take folic acid too.
Before buying your first dietary supplements, check if you have any medical conditions first. Take note of the prescription meds you’re taking to see if taking vitamins and minerals affects them.
You want to ensure that your nutrient aid will not cause adverse effects. Otherwise, it could reduce the effectiveness of your prescription drugs or bring harmful symptoms.
While you’re shopping for your new vitamin and mineral supplement, look at the ingredients list. This is more convenient if you’re browsing an online store.
You can find many articles on the internet that show the recommended dosage for certain vitamins and minerals. However, the most suitable amount depends on several factors.
That’s why this article doesn’t show such information. Instead, it would be best if you consult a doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re planning to take prenatal vitamins.
What are common misconceptions about vitamins and minerals?
More people than ever are taking Vitamin D supplements to satisfy their nutritional requirements. But do vitamins even work?! pic.twitter.com/t6HSyi9iHf
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Read all you can about the supplements you find. Many contain certain buzzwords that may prove health benefits but do not.
Look out for the following statements on your supplement:
- Be careful when products claim to produce quick and easy results that will immediately have a significant impact on your life. Taking vitamins and minerals can boost your health, but they’re not magic!
- You can find many supplements that claim to have “natural” or “organic” materials. This is especially true for nutrients that most people aren’t familiar with, such as vitamin K supplements. It’s a way to convince people that the product is good for them. However, some of them can still have side effects.
- Some even go so far as to claim that they don’t pose any risks. If you encounter an investment that you supposedly can’t lose money on, it’s most likely a scam. Similarly, taking dietary supplements always have varying chances of causing unintended effects.
- Check who’s responsible for verifying the efficacy and safety of your dietary supplement. According to the Food and Drugs Administration, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that before they market their goods. If the FDA finds out that its claims are false, it will take necessary action.
- Read other sources to confirm if the product’s claims are true and recent. For example, it may have proven health benefits decades ago. Studies show that you must not take some on an empty stomach. This is especially important if you want to use prenatal vitamins.
Again, this is why the best course of action is to consult a doctor before taking any supplements. This will help you prevent any side effects that may have a long-term impact on your body.
This is especially true if you’re planning to take prenatal vitamins, taking medication for your pre-existing condition, or you’re about to go into surgery at least two to three weeks from now.
Different vitamins and minerals can help you take care of your body. Yet, you have to take care not to encounter unintended effects or take the wrong dose.
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and products have not been FDA approved. Talk to your physician or medical doctor for additional information.