To supplement or not to supplement? That is the question. Many stores have sections entirely dedicated to multi-vitamins and single vitamin supplements. They come in pretty bottles, some with scenes of nature depicted on the side, and millions of Americans buy them in hopes of riding themselves of any potential health problems. However, there are few reasons to be wary of taking vitamins.
For starters, I’m by no means putting down the use of vitamins. I happen to take some (when I remember to) but what tends to happen is people look to pills to get the vitamins they need when they should be looking towards a healthier, balanced diet. Why pop a vitamin C pill when you can eat some lovely citrus? One cannot rely solely on these pills to get the vitamins they need. Another vitamin pit-fall people should watch out for is the multi-vitamin. These honkers consist of ten or more vitamins packed into one pill fit for a horse or human without a sufficient gag-reflex. That’s a lot of different chemicals to be consuming all at once.
On top of that, vitamins are pretty damn finicky. Some need to be consumed with water. Some need the aid of a juice packed with vitamin C to be absorbed. Some need a swig of milk. Some vitamins, like B12, need to be taken in conjunction with another vitamin—in B-12’s case it needs a B6—to work. Some vitamins need to be taken on an empty stomach and some need food. Don’t even get me started on the back and forth debate on whether or not calcium supplements are beneficial for women or actually a hindrance. See how confusing it can get and how you might be spending top dollar to take a vitamin your body might be unable to process. Again, look to food first and then vitamins.
My advice? Ditch the multi and figure out what supplements you really need. A good B-12 vitamin is essential for vegans or anyone who doesn’t consume a lot of animal products. Iron is great for women who avoid red meat and have heavy periods. Again, make sure you research, research, research what you plan on swallowing. Consumer lab is a great place to see what products have been cited for incorrect labeling.
Food and health topics, much like politics, can be very heated and exaggerated on both sides. But I’d rather err on the side of safety and become more aware of what is going in or on my body than blindly swallowing some pill that has trace elements of lead—oops. Check out this video on my two favvvvvorite supplements.
2 common scenarios to watch out for (Warning: They’re all poop alerts. Sorry people, but what you snot, sweat, pee, and poo can be a good indicator of what’s going on in your body)
Scenario 1: You go to the bathroom and notice your #2’s are looking a little darker than usual. Are you dying? Well, if you have started taking iron supplements, then those are probably the culprit—phew. Your body can only absorb so much iron, so the dark color is your body expelling the excess. Some doctors will say this is good because it shows you’re absorbing a good amount of iron and that if you aren’t experience this effect then you should try a different dosage.
Scenario 2: Your gal friends have recently encouraged you to start taking prenatal pills because it has made their hair, skin, and nails look absolutely vibrant. The one problem is you are starting to feel like Whitney Houston (RIP) moments before she asked Bobby Brown to help her, erm, expedite some situations (for those of you who don’t remember/know: google. ) The culprit is iron levels that are too high. Try some biotin instead and return to strain free bathroom moments.
Peel Away ❤