What You Need To Know About Supplements
By Guest Author, Donna Maurer
Are you completely overwhelmed by the supplement aisle at your local store? Which supplements do you really need? Do they really work, or are you just wasting your money? Anyone who’s interested in improving their health with supplements has asked these questions and more many times.
Myths and misconceptions around supplements are all over the internet, on television, and in magazines. It’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t. Even if you consult with health and wellness “experts” you’re likely to get differing information from each one.
Sadly, all of this differing information and conflicting opinion is usually based on rumors or lack of true research, which makes it all even more confusing. The good news is, most common vitamins and supplements have been researched thoroughly. There is a lot of scientifically proven information out there, you just have to be willing to sift through all the noise.
So, what does science say about the effectiveness of supplements? Let’s dive into the most common myths and misconceptions to help you decide what’s fact and what’s not!
1. Myth: High-quality supplements are always expensive.
High-quality supplements can actually be found in all price ranges. While it’s true that not all supplements are created equal, you should never base your purchasing decisions on price alone.
Begin by researching the manufacturer’s standards, products, and reputation online. Does the company use high-quality ingredients and are their raw materials pure? Do they use only the most bioavailable forms of each vitamin or mineral? Is the product certified organic and non-GMO? Quality supplements should be free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and fillers, too.
Do your shopping with supplement companies that offer their reasonable prices. Conscientious manufacturers will also have their product tested for purity and quality by an independent laboratory. A third-party seal is the best way to know if the product is pure and the label is accurate, no matter what the price tag says.
Truth: A high price tag doesn’t ensure a quality product. Make your purchases based on quality testing by an independent lab. This can be verified by a third-party seal on the label, such as the ConsumerLab, USP seal, or GMP Certified.
2. Myth: Supplements can take the place of exercise and a healthy diet.
We’ve all seen the claims of miraculous weight loss, muscle building, or health improvements on supplement labels. There’s a huge amount of research to show that supplements can support overall health, strengthen the immune system, and give you an energy boost. However, there is no such thing as a magic pill that will help you build muscle, lose weight, or get healthy without exercise and eating a healthy diet.
If you’re looking for more energy and endurance so you can work out longer, or you want to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet, supplements are for you. There are even a variety of different custom vitamins available to help you meet your specific health and fitness goals. But you’ll still need to live a healthy lifestyle if you want lasting weight loss, more muscle, or good health overall.
Truth: There’s no substitute for leading a healthy lifestyle.
3. Myth: You don’t need a multivitamin if you eat a healthy diet.
While it’s true that supplements aren’t a replacement for eating a healthy diet, most people don’t get enough vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients to meet their nutritional needs every day. There are always going to be days when you can’t find the time to eat a wide variety of healthy foods, no matter what your intentions are.
Not only that, but stress, age, environment, intense physical activity, and sickness cause your nutritional needs to fluctuate from day to day. There’s also a good bit of evidence that modern farming practices are depleting essential nutrients in our soil, leaving us with produce that lacks nutritional value.
Taking a multivitamin every day is like taking out an insurance policy against nutritional deficiencies that can lead to health problems over time. In the short term, it will also help to keep your immune system strong and give you more energy.
Truth: While it is technically possible to meet your nutritional needs through diet, many people in the United State have nutritional deficiencies. Taking a multivitamin each day ensures that you are getting the nutrients your diet is lacking.
4. Myth: Supplements are dangerous.
The mainstream media loves to post clickbait claiming that supplements are dangerous, but that’s certainly not the whole story. In fact, the majority of common supplements on store shelves are made from natural substances that we already have in our food and bodies.
Of course, you must always follow proper dosage guidelines, stick to well-researched supplements, and purchase from reputable companies. If you do that, supplements are very safe. Never mega-dose and always talk to your medical professional before you start a supplement regimen, especially if you have a medical condition or take any medications.
Fact: Most well-researched supplements are safe for healthy people who follow the recommended dosages.
5. Myth: Whey protein is fattening.
Many people believe that whey protein is fattening, but that’s not the case. Unless you have an underlying health condition that causes weight gain, the only thing that can make you fat is eating more calories than you burn off with exercise.
Whey protein is not fattening; however, it does help you gain muscle if you work out regularly. Since muscle weighs more than fat, you may notice a slight weight gain if you take it over a period of time. Whey protein is a fantastic protein source for people who live an active lifestyle because it contains all of the essential amino acids you need. It all speeds up muscle recovery after a tough workout.
According to science, whey protein is more satiating than other protein types. It reduces cravings and snacks between meals by keeping you feeling full longer. That means it can actually support your weight loss efforts.
6. Myth: Taking creatine is the same as taking steroids.
Creatine is a very popular supplement with performance athletes and bodybuilders. Unfortunately, many people think it’s a steroid because it’s incredibly effective. The truth is, creatine is nothing like anabolic steroids. It’s actually very safe for healthy individuals.
Our bodies already contain creatine, so it’s totally natural. It gives you a performance and endurance boost when you work out because it supplies extra oxygen and energy to your cells. Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements and science shows that it can even reduce muscle strain, cramping, and injury during workouts.
Fact: You should always follow dosage guidelines when taking creatine, just like any other supplement. Science shows that it’s very safe and effective for healthy men and women who want to boost their workout performance.
Science shows that most well-known supplements are good for your health, and they are completely safe for healthy people who follow dosing instructions. Multivitamins can meet any nutrient deficiencies in your diet to support your health for the long term. Always do your own research and talk to your doctor before deciding which supplements are right for you.