Yes, it may be the middle of September. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start new resolutions. It can be pretty easy to lose sight of what our New Year’s Resolutions were. Just because you faded off track doesn’t mean that you can’t start again. You don’t need the start of a new year to focus on yourself. Start today. The start of a new week can be the start of new resolutions.
You’re probably sick of me telling you that organization is key to sticking to a plan. Or that organizing your life can help improve your health. I’m aware I sound like a broken record, but this stuff is important!
A couple weeks ago, during the back to school frenzy, I talked about organizing your life. When we organize our life, we decrease the amount of unneeded stress, which improves overall health. I’ll just touch quickly on how organizing your medications and vitamins can help. Check out my other blog post on organizing your life.
Vitamins And Minerals
I’m sure at some point you’ve been told to take a multivitamin or supplement of some sort. With over 90,000 products falling under the supplement definition, there seems to be something for everyone. A dietary supplement is classified as everything from vitamins and minerals to botanicals and biosimilar products. However, typically when we refer to supplements, we mean a vitamin, mineral, or multivitamin.
In a 2017 survey conducted by the Journal of Nutrition, they asked nearly 3,500 adults ages 60 and over if they took a daily supplement. The results found that 70% use a daily supplement (either a multivitamin, or individual vitamin or mineral). Likewise, 54% take one or two supplements daily, and 29% take four or more per day. That is a lot to stay organized with. New resolutions don’t have to big and extravagant. Start with organizing your supplements. Use a container to separate all the pills so that you don’t have to open four bottles a day. It’s the little things.
As I am writing this post, I am battling a cough that I have had for nearly two weeks now. During these two weeks I took an Emergen-C. You know, the flavored powder that you mix into water and it’s loaded with Vitamin C. I had strawberry-kiwi and it was delicious. However, when I came home from work and told my sister about it, she responded with, “yeah, but you most likely peed out all of the Vitamin C since it’s so much higher than your daily value.”
This got me thinking. Was the multivitamin that I took for years even doing anything? Or was I just taking it because it made me think I was being healthy?
Do I Really Need To Take That?
As I mentioned earlier there are 90,000 products that make up the over-the-counter dietary supplement industry. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the supplement industry generates about $30 billion every year in the United States. This poses the question, is my multivitamin actually helping me or is it just a waste of money?
The journal of the American College of Cardiology conducted a study in 2018 and found that the four most common supplements–multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C– did not protect against cardiovascular disease. However, some research has also shown that folic acid and B-complex vitamins may reduce the risk of stroke.
So, do you really need to take that?
The answer is unclear. For certain people, with vitamin deficiencies depending on their diet or illness, supplements can help. For example, I am a vegetarian, so my iron levels are lower than normal since I am not getting iron from red meat. My doctor has told me that it might benefit me to take an iron supplement if I don’t increase my intake of more iron enriched foods. Likewise, lactose intolerant people typically have lower levels of calcium and vitamin D. Therefore, they may need to take a supplement as well.
Research. Research. And More Research.
If you’ve read a few of my blogs, then I’m sure you’ve picked up on the fact that I am a research fanatic. Yes, research papers were my favorite things to write in college #nerdstatus. I cannot stress how important research is when it comes to taking supplements.
Over-the-counter supplements are not FDA approved, which means they are not regulated. Dr. Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says, “Supplements can appear on the shelf without having to prove they offer any benefits. With limited regulation and oversight, it’s also difficult to know for certain that the supplement contains the ingredients on the label and is free of contaminants.”
This is why research is crucial. My first step for researching this topic is speaking to my primary physician. Get some blood work done to see what your vitamin levels are at. If they are healthy, then maintain a healthy diet to receive the vitamins and minerals needed. However, if you’re a little on the low side, then ask your doctor what they recommend doing. There are situations where people with certain medical conditions that are prescribed supplements by their doctor. However, if you are not dealing with a medical issue, it is best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food, not a pill.
My second research step is researching the ingredients on the nutrition label of the supplement I am interested in buying. Half of those words I don’t even know how to pronounce, therefore, I spend some time researching them to make sure that they are healthy to put into my body.
The main message of this post is that before you rush to your local Target or Walgreens, do some research before you grab the vitamin B12 bottle with the cutest packaging. Know what the ingredients are and make sure that you actually need the supplement. Too much of vitamins and minerals isn’t healthy for you body either. You have to find that sweet spot.
As always, if you need a research buddy, I am here for you. I want to ensure that you are living your healthiest life. Just because something says one thing, doesn’t mean that it is actually true. I know, talk about a major headache. Please reach out to me via social media, email, or comments if you are feeling overwhelmed and we can tackle the research together!