With 75 percent of American adults taking dietary supplements, the vitamin industry is more prominent than ever. Grocery stores and pharmacies are lined with countless brands of multivitamins and supplements, so it can be confusing to figure out which products match your nutritional needs. This uncertainty can cause many people to wing it, often taking supplements that don’t match their wellness goals.
If you are among this group, you may be making some of the following mistakes. These are some of the most common multivitamin mishaps and how you can avoid them.
You rely on multivitamins
Many adults will take multivitamins every day, which often claim to fulfill the full spectrum of nutritional needs. However, this is not always true. Some multivitamins may contain nutrients that your body might not need. At best, these supplements usually just fill in a few gaps that are lacking because of your diet.
Most experts agree that it’s best to get the bulk of your nutrition from whole foods. You can then use specific supplements to give you the vitamins that you are lacking. For example, if you are a vegan, you might take vitamin D and B12 in addition to a healthy diet.
You choose your supplements based on assumptions
If you don’t know what your diet is lacking, you might just take the supplements that you read about in magazines or hear about from your friends. For example, you might pop an iron supplement just because you assume you should. However, your nutritional needs are completely unique. It’s best to see your doctor or a registered dietitian to learn what supplements will actually help you live a healthier life.
You don’t read the label
The supplement aisle can be overwhelming, so you might just pick up the first bottle you see. However, few supplements manufacturers are the same. It’s important to read the label and ensure that you are buying a product that is targeted at someone with your health needs, such as those for seniors or pregnant women.
You should also read through the ingredients and note whether the supplement is packed with fillers that don’t need to be there. Consider how many times per day you are willing to take a supplement and whether you prefer a food-based product. It can take time, but the effort will be worth it when you find a supplement that works for you.
You only take supplements when you’re sick
If you rush to your supplement stash whenever you have a tickle in your throat and neglect these bottles the rest of the time, you might not be using them right. While ingredients like garlic, zinc, elderberry, and vitamin C might have a role in a healthy immune system, researchers haven’t confirmed whether these supplements can actually stop a cold sooner. So, you should be taking vitamins as a preventative measure. Maintaining healthy nutrient levels can support your immune system, so you don’t get sick as often anyway.
You take too much of one vitamin
Dosage is key when taking a supplement. Just as you follow the dosage requirements on your prescription medications, you should also pay attention to how much of a supplement you should take. Taking too much of one vitamin, such as vitamin E, may actually cause health issues. So, be sure to take only what you need and talk to your doctor about whether a certain dosage is right for you.
Mastering your supplement regimen can be tricky. However, you can determine what to take and how much by doing your research, talking to a medical professional, and always reading the labels. And once you find a supplement schedule and product that works for you, be sure to stick to it.