Our bodies need vitamins in small amounts to grow and stay healthy. The primary source of most vitamins are the foods we consume. Most people get the required vitamins from a healthy balanced diet; however, there are instances wherein some people don’t get enough vitamins from the diet they follow. This makes it important for them to fill their nutrition gap through vitamin supplements.
Although there are multiple options available in the market for vitamin supplements, knowing which is one right is essential. Here are some important steps one should follow while choosing the supplements.
Step 1 – Know you nutritional needs
Everyone has different nutritional needs. These needs are dependent on several factors that include age, gender, type of diet, any underlying medical condition, and any risk of developing a health condition. For instance, if a person is at risk of developing osteoporosis, their doctor may recommend them calcium and vitamin D supplements. Similarly, if a woman is pregnant, her doctor may recommend folic acid supplements as it helps in preventing birth defects. Therefore, one should take vitamins upon understanding their individual nutritional requirements.
Step 2 – Shop for the right products
People may buy vitamins after watching certain commercials without checking the scientific evidence of their benefits and risks. Therefore, researching well on these factors is important before buying and consuming the vitamins.
Another important thing to remember while buying the supplements involves checking the seals of approval. There are some independent organizations that give their approval after they run several tests to check if the supplements contain the right amount of ingredients mentioned on the label and if the supplement products match their standards. These organizations are NSF Internationals, U.S. Pharmacopeia, and ConsumerLab.
Apart from the research and seal of approval, one should look out for vitamins supplement manufacturers that make fake claims about curing diseases. The FDA has warned some manufacturers against making such claims; however, one can find some supplements with these claims on their labels or commercials. It is important to know that no vitamin supplement can cure a disease, however, they can fill the nutrition gap.
There are possible side effects of taking vitamin supplements, especially along with other medication, that one may not know of. For example, if a person is taking blood thinners, they shouldn’t take too much of vitamin K as it can cause a blood clot. Similarly, if a person is about to get surgery, they may have to stop taking omega-3 as it can increase their risk of bleeding. Therefore, consulting a doctor before starting vitamin supplements is important as the doctor can help one understand the side effects or risks associated with the same.
While some vitamins are supposed to be taken with food, others are not. For instance, taking an iron supplement with milk is not recommended as this combination can interfere with the iron and calcium absorption. Hence, consulting a doctor is important as they can inform one about the right combination of food and vitamins.
The daily recommended intake (DRI) for vitamins differs for everyone; therefore, another reason for consulting a doctor is to know the right DRI of the vitamins.