Should we complement our diets with vitamins and supplement pills? This question has been debated over and over again! So it’s time to get the answer, don’t you think?
The nutrition and supplementation industries are multi-billion dollar businesses that keep growing at warp speed. Relevant, irrelevant, scientific and non-scientific information is flowing around magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites. Everyone seems to be selling, promoting or swearing by the new breakthrough in nutrition. And every single pill is bigger and greater than the other: build muscle, burn fat, get energized, fight aging, you name it, they sell it.
They all sound great, don’t they? While supplementation is recommended in certain circumstances (read about them here), most supplements and vitamin pills are actually not a good idea. Why? I could list a couple of reasons but one of the main reasons is lack of regulations. The FDA regulates dietary supplements as foods, not as drugs. Surprised?
You should be, as this implies that supplement manufacturers do not need to get their claims pre-approved for safety and effectiveness. They are not completely unregulated and in recent years the FDA has been stricter and they have recalled or banned products. However, there have been numerous critiques regarding the effectiveness and utility of the new rules and there is definitely room for improvement.
For example, a lot of supplement pills can make claims such as “chemical X or herb Y helps support healthy joints, weight loss, improved energy, etc.” which we internally connect to the actual benefit: “If I take the pill I’ll be stronger, lose, weight, have more energy, etc.”. Who wouldn’t believe that if they saw the happy, fit woman or man who advertises the supplement? Your health is one area where being skeptic goes a long way. So don’t believe it, research it!
The point I am making is that most supplements on the market have not gone through enough testing or safety checks. Therefore their benefits are questionable, not to mention that their side effects are not fully known which makes them borderline dangerous (read more on the dangers of diet pills here)! So, if you are thinking about taking a supplement to enhance or support your health, my recommendation is stick to the natural way: healthy eating and exercise. If you are active at least 30 minutes a day, spend time outdoors, and eat balanced meals comprised of enough fruits, leafy greens, legumes, low fat meats and dairy products, your body does not need supplement pills. It will take all that goodness and help you stay fit, young and energized!
This is definitely a topic that will be debated for years to come. What is your stand on it? Leave us a comment below: