When it comes to vitamins and supplements, there is so much misinformation that it is difficult to know what to believe. There are lots of false claims from manufacturers, self-proclaimed health gurus with misleading information, and all kinds of well-meaning people who just don’t know what they’re talking about. Combined with people’s desire for people’s need to believe that vitamins and supplements will work wonders for them, many myths and misunderstandings have arisen about vitamins and supplements.
Myth # 1: Vitamins and supplements cure illness.
Facts: Vitamins and supplements can help prevent disease, cure disease, and reduce the effects of disease; but vitamins and supplements alone cannot cure disease. No one who is seriously ill should ever take vitamins in place of prescription medications or medical care. The main advantage of vitamins and supplements is their preventive nature. For example, if you have a history of cancer in your family, you may want to take beta-carotene to prevent the disease before you get any signs of it.
Myth # 2: Vitamins and supplements are not drugs.
Myth 3: You can’t take too many vitamins and supplements.
Facts: This is not true at all. There are several vitamins and supplements that can be deadly if taken in high doses or for too long. Vitamins A and D, niacin, and iron can all have adverse effects, resulting in liver damage, heart disease, loss of nerve function and an increased risk of cancer. Other additional overdoses can cause milder medical problems, such as diarrhea, stomach pain, and insomnia. If taken in large amounts, some vitamins will cancel each other out as well. For example, too much extra zinc can lessen the effects of copper you use.
Myth # 4: Vitamins are all the same.
Facts: Just because a substance carries the label “Vitamin C” doesn’t mean it has the same potency as every other “Vitamin C” on the shelf. For example, researchers have wondered whether synthetic vitamin C is as effective as vitamin C produced from rose hips or other natural substances. Vitamins come in so many different forms and from so many different sources that it is important to read the label and also to be an educated shopper. This way you get the vitamins you need in the right shape and potency.
Myth # 5: Everything on the label is true.
Facts: The only thing that is true of a vitamin or supplement is what you read from independent studies or literature. Many manufacturers make claims based on research or information that is incorrect to sell. If the label on a vitamin or supplement makes claims that don’t sound credible, they probably aren’t. Many of these claims are made so that the price can be jacked up so that the manufacturer can make a big profit. Save your money. Just because one supplement costs twice as much as the other doesn’t mean it will work better.
Myth # 6: Vitamins and supplements can replace healthy eating.
Facts: You can’t live on junk food and take a daily supplement and think it will do everything. If you only eat junk food and take a multivitamin every day, all it will do for you is make you feel less guilty about your bad eating habits. Supplements are exactly what they say: in addition to healthy eating. They are certainly no substitute for it.