There is always plenty of debate as to whether nutritional supplements are essential, or an insurance policy for just in case. People who skip meals, and whose diets are not well balanced could well be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Those with frantic, stressful lives, and those who are recovering from illnesses may also opt to use a vitamin supplement. Planning on supplementing your diet with additional vitamins and minerals? Read on for some handy hints.
Supplements are one instance where it can be worthwhile to select quality over budget. In the US, vitamin companies are not policed the same way as pharmaceutical companies, and supplements come under the same rulings as foods. It is always a great idea to stick with reputable and well known supplement companies. The USP seal of approval ensures that the supplement you are purchasing has the ingredients that it is supposed to, and at the stated dosages.
* Take as directed. Many people feel that more vitamins must be better for you. This is wrong. Some vitamins can be dangerous in large amounts. Stick to the recommended dosage. Note also whether you should be taking your supplement with or without meals.
* Expiry dates. Many vitamins lose their potency over time. Be sure to select vitamins that have plenty of shelf life left. If there is no expiry date on the label or bottle, purchase something else.
* Avoid mega doses. Generally, it is not wise to take supplements that provide over 100% RDA (recommended daily allowance) of anything. In fact, recent studies have revealed that taking mega doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful. For more information about on antioxidant supplements this click here.
* Take extra care when pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant and nursing women should only take supplements that are specifically designed for this situation. These women should check with their medical providers before taking any medications.
* Do not mix with other medications. Certain over the counter and prescription medications can have adverse reactions when combined with supplements. Some medications can be made more powerful and some can stop working altogether. People already taking medications in any form should check with their doctor or pharmacist before adding supplements. Blood thinners, heart medications, steroids, the Pill, some cancer treatments, diuretics, and immuno-suppressing drugs are some examples (but by no means all) of the medicines that can be effected by supplements.
* Pre-surgery. Anyone who is going to be having surgery should definitely check with their surgeon about the safety of their supplements as some can cause surgical complications including thinning of the blood.
* Storage. Supplements can easily be damaged by heat and light. Store in a cool dark environment away from the reaches of children. Some supplements even require storage in the refrigerator.
It is always a great idea when purchasing nutritional supplements to stick with reputable high quality companies and brand names that you know to ensure a superior and safe product. Be wary of supplements that are close to expiry, contain mega doses, or exceed the recommended daily allowance.