Supplements can be confusing. Does Vitamin C really prevent the common cold, or does overuse actually cause immunodeficiency? What is fish oil, and should I really be taking it every day? The world of health is often muddled on the Internet, in conversation, and especially on popular “doctor” T.V. shows that are truly just trying to make a buck. With some simple research, you can find research-based information on which supplements are okay to take, and which will be best for you. Here are some guidelines on the most popular vitamins and supplements out there today:
Supplements can be super helpful when you have deficiencies that you need to address with vitamins and other nutrients. However, you must be aware that taking too many supplements is counterproductive to your health. For example, many vitamin-fortified foods contain 100% of your recommended daily intake, and if you have fortified foods and drinks, along with your daily multivitamin, you could be seriously overdoing it. Even with these additions, you probably aren’t getting the right nutrients for your specific needs. Here are three popular vitamins, and why you might need them:
We’ve all heard that Vitamin C is essential for general health, especially in fighting the common cold. However, the tolerable limit is 2000 milligrams a day, and you’re likely eating multiple foods that have 100% of your daily limit. Check the back of the packaging to make sure you aren’t overdoing Vitamin C because while it can be super helpful in fighting immune deficiencies, providing antioxidants, and reducing several risk factors, too much can lead to diarrhea and food poisoning symptoms.
There are several forms of Vitamin B, with the combination of all 8 being called Vitamin B complex. You are likely fine with Vitamin B if you are eating a balanced diet; deficiencies in this area will likely cause some fatigue and irritability, along with other health risks like rashes and digestion problems. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be lacking some Vitamin B. You shouldn’t supplement Vitamin B unless your doctor recommends it, and they will let you know which of the eight are needed to get you back on track.
Vitamin D, together with calcium, is necessary for our bone health. You can get Vitamin D from the sun, but likely not enough for the daily recommended levels for adults. Before supplementing, try eating foods high in this vitamin, like fish, eggs, and other healthy, fatty foods. After that, contact your doctor to see if you are actually deficient because over supplementing can actually leach calcium out of your bones. Ouch.
Collagen is a strange case of supplementing. It is on the top of everyone’s list right now in terms of skin care, but this time, everyone is probably right. Collagen is an essential protein in your skin that basically serves as the building block of the structure. Collagen can reverse aging by providing structure to skin, improve your muscle production, and help with your digestive tissue. Of course, supplement in moderation, along with a healthy diet full of protein; you can use collagen peptides to supplement and take advantage of the benefits of collagen.
Vitamin E is great for increasing hair moisture, boosting nail growth, and reducing skin inflammation. This is due to its antioxidizing properties, its protective layers of fatty lipids. You likely get enough Vitamin E through your diet, since tons of food are rich in Vitamin E. If you want to target hair specifically, use products that boast added Vitamin E, and don’t overdo it with supplements since vitamins that come from whole foods are proven to be better than the isolated supplement.
Supplements can be a great tool for improving your quality of life and overall health. However, too much can seriously hurt you, as with anything! Be careful with your intake and be conscious of what you’re putting into your mouth, and your health, skin, and hair will thank you.