Taking vitamins and supplements
Taking vitamins and supplements is a very personal thing. Some people take several and others wouldn’t dream of it. There are some general practitioners who tell their patients to steer clear of these and there are those who incorporate them in to the medication regimen.
I believe a lot of hesitation surrounding the use of the things we term “complementary medicines” is due to lack of knowledge. Vitamins, minerals, herbs and even nutrition in general are things that are not studied in enough detail during medical and pharmacy degrees.
There is a theory that goes if we eat well we do not need to supplement. This makes sense to some extent however there are times when people can not eat as they should whether this be to illness, travelling etc.
There is also a major problem with our food supply. Due to changes in farming practices and food production over the years food just isn’t food anymore. Not only do some foods potentially contain little nutritional quality but they can also contain pollutants that can contribute to illness.
Supplementing our diet with nutrients that we are missing out on with our food makes sense. I do believe in using quality brands that contain natural and organically sourced ingredients where possible.
Are all vitamins and supplements good for me?
As with any medicine, and vitamins and supplements should be thought of as medicines, it is important to take them under the advice of a health care practitioner. There are certainly some products that do not have any evidence from research that show that they are beneficial or necessary. Weight loss is a big area where there are lots of products that may not have been shown to be effective but there are also other areas. Conversely there are many complementary medicines that have a lot of research and evidence behind them showing how effective they are.
Aside from evidence of effectiveness some vitamins and supplements can interfere with the way prescription and other medicines work. It is possible for them to make the prescription medicines more or less effective and increase the risk of side effects. This is why it is very important to discuss with your Doctor or Pharmacist before taking anything new.
Always read the product label for vitamins and supplements
The product label will give directions for how much to take, how often and what to be careful about.
It is very important not to take more than the recommended dose. As I mentioned before vitamins and supplements are like medicines in that the correct dose must be adhered to. Taking more than the recommended dose will not result in you getting better quicker, but can result in side effects and even overdose.
Vitamins and supplements can certainly be of benefit in many cases and often with less side effects than prescription medicines but it is very important to incorporate these under the guidance of your qualified health practitioner.