Vitamins and supplements can be beneficial to our healthy eating in the modern stressful lifestyle. However, not all supplements are created equal.

When you are buying supplements, here are some common mistakes that you can avoid:

1) Ask the store clerk

The sales persons in the store are not the experts whom you should be getting your nutritional or supplement advise from. Most of the sales person or store clerk probably get the information from the marketing material from the major suppliers.  Do your own reading, research or ask the expert.

2) Unrealistic expectations

Supplements are not “quick fix”. They provide benefits when taken regularly over a period of time. Therefore, you should use the supplements as they are intended according to the label.

They should not be used as a replacement for healthy diet and lifestyle. You should already have a healthy diet and lifestyle as a base and take supplement to optimize your health.

3) Overdosing

More is not better. Taking too much of some supplements can be harmful. For example, excessive iron and vitamin A can give liver problems and overdose of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage to the arms and legs

Therefore, you should follow according to the dose recommended. If any, I would prefer to under dose, but I make sure that I take them regularly.

4) Absorption issues

The supplements you take need to be properly absorbed into the body for the benefits to be felt. Fat soluble vitamins need to be taken with fat in order to better absorb into the body. So, vitamin A, D, E and K should be taken with meals containing fat. Vitamin D should be taken with Calcium and Magnesium for better absorption.

5) Potential Interaction

Be careful of potential interaction of supplements with drugs and with other supplements. Blood thinning drugs such as warfarin and aspirin should not combine with co-enzyme Q10, which can affect the bio-availability of the drugs. On the other hand, folic acid should be taken together with vitamin B12 for best effect as they work together.

6) Additives in the supplements

Many supplements have to be compressed into tablets for easier consumption. Binders are added to give the mixture the right consistency. Tablets can be coated with protein to protect from deterioration and for easier swallowing.

Be mindful about artificial flavoring, sweeteners , coloring agents and preservatives. Read the labels carefully and look out for ingredients such as FD&C Red No 40, FD&C Yellow No 6, polysorbate 80, sodium benzoate, butylated hydroxytoluene. These are undesirable ingredients.

Supplements can be a positive addition to your lifestyle and a simple way to promote overall health and well-being. Choose only those that offer superior purity, reliability and have gone through rigorous quality control and potency guaranteed.

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