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Myths and Truths about Vitamins and Supplements you should know

Myth: Vitamins and supplements can make up for an unhealthy diet

Truth: Supplements are meant to do just that – that is, supplement your diet. Vitamins and nutrients in food are easier for your body to digest, so eating healthy and keeping a regular healthy diet is the best way to ensure you're getting enough nutrients. Depending too heavily on supplements to get your daily nutrients can be dangerous. Taking vitamin/ nutrient doses that are too large can cause health complications.

Myth: Vitamins and supplements are risk-free

Truth: Just because a supplement only contains vitamins and natural ingredientsdoesnot mean that there are no risks involved. Taking too much iron, for example, may increase your risk for heart disease. A friend or a television personality might recommend a supplement, but it may not be right – or safe – for you, so consult your doctor before introducing a new supplement to your diet.

Myth: All vitamins and supplements are the same

Truth: The quality of a supplement can vary greatly from brand to brand, so you should always compare nutritional labels to know exactly what you're getting. Don't let vague labels like "all natural" persuade you.

Myth: Supplements can treat health issues

Truth: Vitamins and supplements are NOT intended to treat acute health issues or illnesses. Getting enough of key nutrients may help reduce the risk of certain illnesses and promote good health over time, but taking vitamin C today will not cure your cold tomorrow. Trying to use supplements to treat serious health issues before consulting doctor can be dangerous as early detection and treatment is important for managing majority of illnesses.

Myth: Vitamins and supplements never go bad

Truth: Supplements may not spoil like produce does, but they do lose potency over time. Continuing to use old supplements will make it difficult to ensure a proper dosage. Check the expiration date on any supplements you purchase, as well as any that are sitting in your cupboard, to make sure they're fresh and at their full potency.

Myth: Vitamins and supplements can be taken any time of day

Truth: Most instructions say that supplements should be taken with food for maximum results. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E or F need some food in the stomach to increase their absorption. Taking supplements with food also reduces the likelihood of nausea and acid reflux.

Fish oil supplements make you smell bad Truth: Fish oil is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids, but it has a bad reputation for smelling fishy. The most common complaints about fish oil supplements are belching and acid reflux, which causes bad fish breath. To reduce or eliminate odor, you can freeze your fish oil capsules, or purchase fish oil supplements which are enteric-coated to dissolve in the intestines rather than the stomach. Only in rare cases do fish oil capsules cause body odor.

Myth: Anyone can take over the counter vitamins or supplements. One doesn't need a doctor to consult.

Truth: Even though some vitamins and supplements are known to be effective, they may not be safe for certain individuals based on their current health condition. Taking excessive Vitamins can be harmful too, especially in an older person. Always consult with your doctor for a professional opinion before starting a supplement regimen.