Most people do not know that vitamins when taken along with a normal diet can not only be unnecessary but, also, potentially harmful. Yet vitamins of all color, shape sizes and concentrations are sold all through the world at pharmacies, health shops and supermarkets and most people take them without professional advice.
Vitamins are organic or related nutrient substances found in the foods we eat. They have specific biochemical properties and small amount of these are essential for our body to function well. Lack of these vitamins would lead to various deficiencies, some of which are even life threatening.
What is indeed heartening is that almost all individuals who eat a normal, balanced diet would get their daily dose of vitamins required for their daily functions. So before you go to shop for your next supply of vitamins read the following expert advice and get to know your vitamin pills better.
Seeing / “Peeing” Yellow
You may have joined the ‘vitamin club’ recently and you must have begun to notice that the color of your urine is bright yellow. Did you panic because you thought that you are excreting out all the good vitamin stuff? If you did, put your fears at rest. Your urine is likely to be yellow when you are on multivitamins or B-complex vitamins. The latter has riboflavin (or Vitamin B2) which lends urine the yellow color. Besides, the yellow urine, in this case, is an indication that the body is pushing out what it does not require.
You hate most vegetables but believe that you can get the same benefits by feeding on supplements. You cannot be more wrong. Veggies come loaded with nutrition and disease-fighting properties and the best way to derive those blessings is by eating them raw or cooked rather than popping a pill because they are better absorbed when eaten, rather than when taken as pills.
Old is NOT Gold
If you are still using the same old bottle of multivitamins now is the time to throw them out. You may be someone who believes that vitamins are as good old as they are new. But the truth is that they lose 10-20% of their potency over time, so checking the expiry date might be a good idea if you do not want to waste your money’s worth.
Pregnancy and Folic Acid
You may have recently found out that you are pregnant and that has got you thinking that you should start taking folic acid supplements. However, the truth remains that most of us have adequate amounts of folic acid in our systems. It has been recommended that women who plan to start a family must start taking 400 mcg of folic acid even before they conceive in order to reduce the risk of birth defects in their offsprings. Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned, therefore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women who are sexually active take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, even if conceiving a baby is not on your agenda.
Supplements with the term ‘ all natural’ attract you as you think that it is a safe and healthy option. However it would benefit you to be aware of the fact that the label “all natural” is not an official label and does not guarantee the safety of the product.
Vitamins are usually stored in tight bottles and most of us think that it does not matter where we store them. The truth is that some supplements such as flax oil, fish oil and probiotics need to be refrigerated in order to retain their quality and shelf life. Also, they are likely to become rancid if they are kept outside.
Most vitamins just need to be stored in a dry and dark place. Avoid storing vitamins on top of refrigerators or microwave ovens as they tend to emit heat which can affect the potency of the vitamins. Similarly bathroom cabinets too must be avoided for their moisture content.
Too Much Too Good?
Sometimes we increase the amount of vitamins we take believing that extra vitamins can only do us good. The truth is this habit can be quite deleterious to our health. Extra doses of one nutrient can cause deficiency in another. For example taking extra doses of iron can result in a zinc deficiency as both these nutrients have the same binding sites. Do not forget to consult your nutritionists on any concerns regarding this matter.
Timing your vitamins
Many of us remember to take our vitamin pills only at night, just before bed time because we are convinced that time does not matter when it comes to taking vitamins. We can’t be further from the truth. Vitamins must always be taken along with food for better absorption. Also, vitamins A, D, E or K need to be taken along with some amount of fat in the diet as all these vitamins are fat- soluble. Also, taking vitamins along with food prevents any stomach upset that they may cause.
Prescription Medications & Vitamins
If you are on prescription medications it might do you good to ask your doctor before you take your vitamins. You may believe that vitamins can do no harm but several supplements can act adversely in conjunction with prescription or over- the- counter medications. For example, fish oil is also a blood thinner so if you are already taking an aspirin, or its family of medicines, you may not want to add another pill that has blood thinning properties. Before starting on a vitamin supplement make sure your innocuous pill does not interfere with the functions of your prescription pill.