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7 Reasons Why Regular Supplement Intakes Are Not Good For You

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7 Reasons Why Regular Supplement Intakes Are Not Good For You

Vitamins and mineral supplements are often touted for helping with energy, weight loss, stress, anti-aging and many other worries. These claims do have a grain of truth, but little else. Though supplements can help some things, they cannot cure ailments.

Normal healthy people should not need supplements or vitamins. Certain people will benefit from them for periods of time, such as pregnant women needing extra calcium or people with compromised immune systems or vitamin absorption issues. However, most people should not be taking supplements routinely throughout their lifetime.

1. More Vitamin Intake Is Not Better

Supplement means added – that is, in addition to regular diet. Vitamins and supplements are for people that don’t get enough through their regular meals. A healthy diet rich in grain, protein, fruits, and vegetables won’t typically require extra supplements. If the diet is sufficient, extra vitamins will only be passed out of the body as waste.

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Medicare acknowledges that most vitamin deficiencies are nutritional in origin, and has rather strict criteria for allowing reimbursement on medical tests or prescriptions. Presumably, taking care of one’s health would make treatment irrelevant.

2. The Immune System Works Best When Boosted Naturally

Having a strong immune system is one way of ensuring and maintaining optimal health. With compromised immune systems, viruses and diseases enter the body more easily and the body takes longer to recover. Also, a strong immune system helps keep tumor cells dormant. However, supplements are not natural. Nature Supplies recommends boosting immune systems naturally with a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet high in fruits, grains and vegetables and low in saturated fats. Their best advice is consuming raw vegetables and fruits, plenty of water, raw garlic, getting more rest and taking in 20-45 minutes of sun everyday. While some benefits can be attained through vitamins, nothing beats the real thing.

3. Stress Relief Happens Naturally

Although people use time consuming activities to fight stress, while most stress is caused by a lack of time. Eating, which people generally do anyway, is also the most natural and beneficial way to fight stress. Serenity Health has a list of foods that naturally relieve stress, many of which work to keep cortisol and adrenaline under control as well as lower blood pressure. While eating can be good for stress, make sure they are natural foods, not sugary snacks or chemical-laden things like ramen noodles.

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4. Supplements Are Not Regulated

Coming straight from the FDA: “Dietary supplements are not approved by the government for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. If the dietary supplement contains a NEW ingredient, that ingredient will be reviewed by FDA (not approved) prior to marketing — but only for safety, not effectiveness.” Similar to the way fast food restaurants can put anything they want into food, supplement manufacturers can put all kinds of chemicals in pill form and there is no oversight until someone gets sick or dies as a direct cause.

Medications are put through a rigorous development and approval system that takes eight to twelve years for safety and effectiveness. Supplements, on the other hand, can be marketed to consumers until they are proven unsafe. Manufacturers are not required to test the supplements in clinical trials to find potential risks or interactions with other substances.

5. It Is Possible To Overdose On Vitamins

When it comes to antibiotics, including hand sanitizers, they should be used sparingly to keep from building up a resistance. Likewise, people shouldn’t take excess of a vitamins “just in case.”

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A study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that Vitamin A and Manganese have potentially serious adverse effects at high intakes, while Iron and Vitamin C may have minor and reversible adverse effects that may be associated with supplement intake. The risk of harm depends on the safe intake range of a given nutrient, susceptibility of the individual, and how much of the nutrient comes through other means. The verdict on any of supplements is controversial, however, and while the above journal didn’t find iron overly harmful, Livestrong noted that iron could potentially be fatal in a one-time overdose. It’s certainly something a pregnant woman would want to be more cautious about taking.

6. Multivitamins May Be More Harmful Than Good

The controversy gets particularly interesting where it concerns Beta Carotene, Vitamin A and, especially, Vitamin E. Numerous studies exist on Vitamin E and the adverse effects, such as an increase in mortality, an increase in prostate cancer in men and an increased risk of heart failure in patients with vascular disease or diabetes.

There is a lot of reason to not take supplements at all. While beta carotene showed a potential increase of lung cancer in male smokers, overall there were signs that it may be both beneficial and harmful. Forbes has a list of vitamins that you should never take, which they updated to also include vitamin D (see below).The Atlantic Monthly also outlined a number of supplements that may actually be killing consumers.

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7. Supplements Are Expensive

Some professionals claim that spending a little now on supplements will save billions in health care in the future. Meanwhile, consumers spend over $30 billion annually, with some individuals spending over $100 per month, on supplements with exaggerated claims and unsupported claims of effectiveness.

Vitamin D may be the biggest waste of money. Forbes research added it to their list of vitamins not to take because the claims that it helps bone density might not be even a little bit true. At the best, consumers are simply wasting their money.

To top it all off, many supplements contain 100% of the recommended daily intake of a given nutrient, which is to say that a person would be overdoing things unless they consume no other food containing certain nutrients at all. On the whole, research suggests that if consumers are to spend more money, to spend it on more fresh foods.

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As with any medical advice, doctors or pharmacists can help a consumer ensure they are not getting too much or too little of a certain vitamin or that supplements are not interfering with medications already prescribed. For an extensive overview, please see the National Institutes of Health fact sheets of dietary supplements.

Featured photo credit: Colin Dunn/flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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