July 31, 2010

Supplements: if a little is good, a lot if better?

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately: people self-supplementing with megadoses of vitamins, minerals, or herbs with no medical knowledge to back it up. I’ve talked to people taking thousands and thousands of IU’s of vitamin D because “everyone’s deficient”, iron (because they’re tired), or even fiber gummy bears. This seems like a problematic trend to me because your body has a way to regulate vitamins and minerals absorbed naturally from food, but when you start ingesting pills with high doses of a particular compound, how are you sure its doing what you intend it to? Further, if you think that the bottle is telling you all you need to know, think again. Remember, people make money when you buy their product. Don't rely on the label or packing of vitamins or supplements to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about your health.

Just so you know, there are simple blood tests you can get from your doctor to check the status of your iron or vitamin D. If you are thinking about taking these supplements, please talk to your doctor. And be sure to ask them about their knowledge background in vitamins and supplements. Are they prescribing specifically for your needs, or comparing you to the general population’s needs? Remember, though you can buy these pills in a drugstore, they are biologically active in your body – be sure to protect yourself and use them wisely and with knowledge.

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