Not all vitamins and minerals are created equal. Research in the past found that many vitamins and minerals were useless at best and harmful at worst. Just like in my post about dietary supplementation, this article highlights the importance of doing a little research and choosing from reputable companies.
There’s a general consensus about choosing good brands and being aware of what to look for. The following pointers should help.
Narrow It Down
Vitamin deficiencies exist. Sometimes it’s good to work with a doctor or a dietitian to figure out exactly what you need. “Blood work is a good way to confirm a deficiency”, says dietitian Ali Webster, who works for the International Food Information Council Foundation. In lieu of lab work, one may choose vitamin and mineral supplements based on symptoms or lifestyle factors, like fatigue, sleep issues, and dietary restrictions.
Certain supplements have been proven to help manage medical conditions. The American Heart Association endorses omega-3 supplements for anyone with (or at high risk of) heart disease and high blood pressure.
Nutritionists recommend vitamin D3 supplementation, including people with anorexia, poor absorption issues, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.
I don’t normally recommend multivitamins because, for most brands, the potency of their nutrients tends to be very low. It’s better to purchase vitamins individually in order to get the sufficient amounts that our bodies need, especially when training.
Do a Little Research
Many brands claim to diligently test their own products, but these testing processes aren’t regulated and may or may not be as rigorous as the brand claims. “It’s important to look for bottles and brands with a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal,” Webster says. “It indicates that a product has been verified for purity, strength, safety, dissolvability, and manufacturing quality.” The NSF International seal is another one to look out for, established in 1944 by the National Sanitation Foundation, a highly respected third-party testing lab.
Tablets and Capsules are Beneficial
The best way to get vitamins and minerals is through food, however since this is impractical for many people it’s crucial to supplement. That said, not all delivery methods are created equal. An article from Harvard Medical School recommends skipping gummy vitamins, which can contribute to cavities and are less likely to undergo rigorous testing. Instead, it recommends opting for tablets and capsules that you can swallow whole.
Read the Labels
It’s goes without saying that one should pay attention to storage and best-by dates. Don’t exceed the recommended dose given on the supplement label unless advised to do so by a medical professional. While you can urinate out any excess water-soluble vitamins and minerals, excess fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) get stored in your body and may cause harm over time.
I believe that the importance of dietary supplements is essential now more than ever. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies contribute to many ailments and inhibit the body from optimally functioning, therefore it would be beneficial to start supplementing today.
Some of this content was published here.