The Supplement Situation

I understand the appeal of supplements, really, I do. My attorney will get mad if he don’t see this: I am NOT a doctor NOR am I giving you medical advice. There you read it.

Every day you might hear about the different nutrients you need. You need this to sleep, this for your knees, this for that, that for this. It can be overwhelming.

Then you have to wonder if you’re getting enough of these nutrients in your diet. Maybe? Maybe not? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have a deficiency.

So what sounds like the easiest way to get your fill?

Supplements seem like the clear answer. They promise flowing hair, clear skin, weight loss, healthy guts, and more. Here’s a list of the most common vitamins and supplements:

  • Vitamin D: Antidepressant and energy-stimulant.

  • Magnesium: Nerve and muscle function.

  • Calcium: Bone health, blood clotting, heart.

  • Vitamin C: Artery health, connective tissue, and good skin.

  • Omega-3: Healthy hair, eyes, brain, and nails.

  • Probiotics: Aid in digestion and immunity.

But do they really work? Are they worth your money?

For hundreds of years, doctors and scientists believed that vitamins were the key to treating sicknesses and diseases. They prescribed huge doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and many more in last ditch efforts to cure everything from the common cold to cancer to heart disease. However, after many years and many studies, these scientists were proven wrong, indicating almost no evidence that supplements can treat or cure any diseases.

For example, Vitamin C has been proven to only cure scurvy and Vitamin E does nothing.

Other vitamins have mixed effects. For another example, Vitamin B is commonly taken by pregnant women to reduce neural diseases and increase the health of the baby. However, other studies show that Vitamin B increases the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. So what should you believe? Well, it’s a little more complicated (and way more scientific) than that. Basically, Vitamin B aids in growth of cells. This means it’s good for pregnant women and children because they’re constantly growing! But for adults, this is unnecessary and can be harmful!

So basically, supplements are way more involved than you might think they are. What works for one person can be absolutely detrimental for the next.

So why are supplements not as helpful as you might think? The answer is actually quite easy. A long time ago, it was very common for most people (especially the lower/working class) to contract diseases caused by not getting the right nutrients. However, in today’s day and age, the most common diseases are NOT caused by nutrient deficiencies. Obesity, heart problems, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and more are caused by other problems and cannot be cured by vitamin supplements.

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins (Vitamins B and C) need constant replacement in the body because excess amounts are quickly expelled. For example, if you eat too much Vitamin C, your body will keep what it needs and flush out the rest. But excess fat-soluble vitamins (aka Vitamins A, D, E, and K) are stored in the liver and fatty tissues, meaning they are flushed out of the body much slower than the others. Basically, too many fat-soluble vitamins in your body could become toxic easily, which is why you have to be super careful when taking supplements you might think you need.

With this being said, supplements can be helpful to certain people. Here’s a small list of people who may need to take supplements: But remember, everyone is different. Consult with a doctor before you make any sudden changes to your supplements or diet.

  • Pregnant/Breastfeeding: Folate or other neural vitamins

  • Vegans/Vegetarians: Vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium

  • Individuals who do intense training or exercise

  • Anemic: Iron supplements

  • Other health problems: Do your research before choosing what’s right for you

  • Elderly: Many supplements can help, including Vitamin D or Omega-3

So while most don’t need to take supplements at all, they’re essential for certain individuals. Make sure to do your research and talk to a doctor before doing anything!

And the point is: DO YOUR RESEARCH. I get SOOOO frustrated when I see people at the gym in their supplement store t-shirts sucking down 5 different pre-workouts, vitamins and so on. “The cashier at the vitamin store said these were good.” My response is the same. “They said cigarettes were good 100 years ago too.” or “Does the cashier have a medical degree by chance?” or “How much did you spend? It was a lot wasn’t it?”

DO YOUR RESEARCH and if you need something to supplement your already awesome diet of healthy vitamins and nutrients, then you go for it!

Enjoy your day and step outside for some awesome Vitamin D.

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Love,

Molly