In 2018, the number of Australian adults who purchased vitamins, minerals, and/or supplements increased to 8.3 million from just under eight million in 2014. Many consumers believe that vitamins can treat chronic conditions, prevent the common cold, and combat stress. But what can vitamins really do, and what’s just myth?
Understanding the differences between fact and fiction can help you make well-informed decisions when buying vitamins. Within the supplement industry, little oversight exists, leading to controversy and misinformation. Here are five myths to keep in mind when shopping for vitamins and supplements.
Myth: Taking a multivitamin can compensate for a poor diet.
Reality: Although multivitamins can provide many vitamins and nutrients, scientists remain undecided about their effectiveness. Multivitamins shouldn’t act as a substitute for a healthy diet and taking multivitamins does not excuse a poor diet.
Instead, your diet should be your primary source of vitamins and nutrients, while multivitamins can act as a supplement to your daily diet. If you’re interested in increasing your daily vitamin intake, improving your diet can positively influence your long-term health and eliminate the need for supplements.
If you’re on a calorie-restrictive diet, adding a general multivitamin to your daily diet can help reduce nutritional deficiencies and leave you feeling more energized throughout the day.
Myth: You can’t overdose on vitamins.
Reality: With vitamins, many consumers believe that more is better. However, many supplements contain more than your suggested daily intake. Paired with a diet rich in protein bars and fortified foods, supplements can lead to an overdose.
According to the Better Health Channel, taking too many vitamins can cause harm to the body because the body only requires small amounts. Overdosing on vitamins can cause damage to vital organs. In particular, vitamin A can cause liver damage and lead to birth defects, while excess vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage.
Myth: Supplements are tightly regulated.
Reality: In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates medicines and other therapeutic goods. The TGA addresses medicines for safety and effectiveness before they can be legally marketed in Australia. However, not all vitamins undergo the same scrutiny, which creates problems among products sold online.
When buying supplements online, there’s a clear difference between high-quality products and poorly manufactured ones. As a consumer, finding a dependable vitamin manufacturer is key to protecting your health. Vitamin manufacturers like Maker’s Nutrition prioritize consumer satisfaction by manufacturing premium products and offering exceptional customer service.
Myth: Supplements are never necessary.
Reality: Depending on your health status, supplements may be beneficial to you. Supplements are commonly used to manage various conditions. Calcium and vitamin D can benefit vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals, while folic acid can benefit pregnant women.
Supplements are also popular among the older population, with over half of the elderly consuming daily vitamins and other supplements. While most older adults can consume more nutrients by improving their diet, studies have associated certain supplements with a lowered risk of cancer, heart disease, and other conditions.
Myth: All vitamins are safe because they’re natural.
Reality: Like any other medication, supplements have potential risks and complications. Although vitamins and nutrients are natural, they become unnatural after they’re processed into pill form. As previously mentioned, taking too many vitamins can cause harm to the body.
It’s important to remember that natural is not always synonymous with safe or effective. For instance, arsenic, pennyroyal, and botulism toxin are natural but are also highly poisonous.
All in all, distinguishing science from marketing hype can help you make better decisions about vitamins and supplements. Many health insurance plans consider supplements an elective treatment, meaning they require out-of-pocket payment. To find out more about elective treatment coverage, compare health insurance with iSelect.