Vitamins are compounds that are needed by the body for good health. The human body cannot synthesize its own vitamins (other than vitamin D in the skin), and so these must come from the diet. Taking vitamins and minerals as supplements, however, are a different matter. Vitamin supplements are extremely popular, all around the world. People use vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons, including just overall health maintenance to prevention of specific conditions. When it comes to multivitamins and other nutritional supplements, many myths exist about their effectiveness and safety. Misleading information causes confusion and, worse yet, can make people reluctant to take supplements that can help them achieve optimal health.
Myth 1: Multivitamins supplements are never necessary
Dietary supplements may be beneficial for certain populations and to help manage various conditions. Like someone on a calorie-restricted diet who may benefit from a multivitamin and mineral, someone who is allergic to milk who may benefit from calcium and vitamin D etc.
Myth 2: Vitamins should be taken on an empty stomach.
Many vitamins are water soluble meaning they dissolve in water and will be absorbed by the body at almost any time of the day, regardless of your stomach contents. The four fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E and K can only be absorbed with fat. So, if you are taking a multivitamin that contains A, D, E or K vitamins, it’s best to take it with a little food that contains some fat. Taking a supplement on an empty stomach makes them nauseated.
Myth 3: Vitamins make you hungry
No study supports this. Vitamins can give you more energy, you may become more active, burn more calories and then feel hungry. Studies actually have shown that vitamins, especially multivitamins containing chromium, appear to reduce hunger.
Myth 4: Vitamins supplements are a waste of time
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients. These essential nutrients must come from the diet on a regular basis and in amounts known to ensure life, as well as health. There is no harm in taking a moderate-dose multi-vitamin and mineral. In fact, people who supplement tend to be healthier. Multivitamins and pills never replace a healthy diet, but it is one factor in a pattern of living that helps prevent disease and for a healthy life.
Myth 5: If you take multivitamins, don’t need to eat many vegetables or fruits
No vitamin is in place of a healthy, fresh, unprocessed whole food, varied diet. Vitamins are just a helper and are in no way to replace a healthy diet! A multivitamin is to help fill in gaps in your diet, not to replace your diet! There is truly no substitute for eating well to achieve ‘optimal health’.
Myth 6: Suggested dose is just a suggestion
Taking less than the suggested dose of a supplement is probably a waste of money, as there’s very little chance that you’ll experience any benefit. However, taking more than suggested can increase your risk of developing side effects, and that’s why it’s important to take the amount specified on the label.