Table of Contents
No matter how healthily we eat, sometimes it’s necessary to supplement a diet with tablets or powders to give us the additional things we need. We could have an absorption issue, not get enough of a particular vitamin or mineral from the foods we eat, or want to supplement for some other reason.
However, there’s no point in spending money on these additional products without getting the options, delivery methods, times, and other factors right for us. Here are some of the top dos and don’ts you need to know about dietary supplements today.
Follow These Tips When You’re Taking Dietary Supplements
Do: Ensure There’s A Need
It’s not wise to guess which dietary supplements may be beneficial for you. There’s no need to add supplementation to your system if you’ll only be taking things you already have enough of in your body or that might actually cause problems for your health. Always take advice from a doctor, especially after getting blood tests done.
Your bloodwork may show, for instance, that you’re low in magnesium, iron, vitamin D, or some other nutrient. If you want to have a baby soon or address hormonal issues, you may need to buy some quality testosterone boosters or start taking folic acid, selenium, zinc, or iodine. However, remember that you can also often get what you need from the food you consume, so consult with your regular medical practitioner about precisely what you do need, in what quantities, and the best way(s) of getting it.
Do: Investigate Medicinal Interactions
Similarly, before you start taking any new dietary supplements, talk to your doctor about how these products might interact with other medications you’re on, whether prescribed or supplemental. This information is rarely conveyed on supplement bottles or manufacturer websites, so just because you don’t see data about it doesn’t mean it’s not something to concern yourself with.
For instance, some dietary supplements, such as omega-3s, ginseng, vitamin K, and garlic, are said to interfere with multiple medications, especially those created to thin the blood. St John’s wort may reduce oral contraceptives’ effectiveness, among other things, while curcumin could cause decreased levels of some antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.
On the other hand, some supplements support one another, so you may get better results from simultaneously taking them—for instance, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and iron and vitamin C.
Do: Follow Manufacturer Instructions
Adhere to the instructions written on supplement packaging, too. Manufacturers list advice based not only on the type of products they make but also on their creations’ specific ingredients and strength. Only take more or less of the suggested amount if discussed with your medical practitioner. Otherwise, follow instructions about things such as the daily dosage and when to take supplements (e.g., morning or night and with a meal, after a meal, or before a meal).
For example, digestive enzymes need to be taken before a meal, often at least 30 minutes prior, while melatonin should be taken not long before bed. Many vitamins are fat-soluble and work best if you pop them with a meal that contains dietary fats such as lean meat or fish.
Some other key “dos” for supplements include storing them properly (generally in a cool, dark place or, sometimes, in the fridge) and buying from trusted brands.
Don’t: Overdo It
One of the essential don’ts to pay attention to is not overdoing your supplement consumption. Try to be regular with your intake, but don’t double up the day after if you forget one day. This can be dangerous, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Also, consider whether you really need to be taking dozens of different supplements daily. If they’ve all been suggested to you by a medical practitioner, that’s fine, but don’t just keep adding more products to your regime in the hope that doing so will automatically make you feel your best.
Don’t: Take New Supplements When Pregnant Without Medical Consultation
If you’re pregnant or hope to be soon or are breastfeeding a baby, it’s crucial to be discerning about the supplements you take. Don’t start consuming new ones without first having a medical consultation with your gynecologist, general practitioner, or another specialist.
Even natural products can harm you or your baby. For example, high doses, or sometimes even any supplemental amount of cod liver oil, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin E, fenugreek, and feverfew can be dangerous.
Two other “don’ts” to remember about supplements are: don’t expect instant results from products, as many take weeks or even months to have an effect, and don’t neglect to reassess your supplemental needs periodically throughout the year. Follow all these tips when choosing and taking these types of products, and you’ll give yourself a better chance of excellent health.