Busted! 5 Dietary Supplements Myths You Should Know About


Contributed by: Rachana Arya


This is the second article in a series of dietary myths that explains all you need to know before popping in those food supplements. The first article focused on the various foods myths surrounding women’s health. This article will get into the myths around health supplements consumption.


What Are Nutritional Supplements?

Over recent years, there has been an increasing trend for dietary supplements in India. Its demand has witnessed a substantial increase, partly due to our modern and sedentary lifestyle as well as fast food, packaged food consumption. This has contributed to an increase in the incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. As a result, Indian customers, particularly those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, see preventive medicines and supplements as viable alternatives. 

Food supplements, also called dietary or nutritional supplements, bridge the shortfall of the nutrients that may not be adequate from food. Supplements are used as a preventive measure and to improve your immunity to fight against age-related or environmental difficulties, as well as to minimize the risk of various health conditions.

But how do you know what’s true and what’s just marketing hype?

It might be difficult to tell the difference between myths and facts when it comes to supplements because there is a lot of misinformation and controversy. So, before you swallow any more pills to maintain your nutritional levels, consider the following five supplement myths:


Myth #1: Nutritional supplements are a substitute for a healthy diet


Food is the greatest prescription for vital nutrients. Nature provides our bodies with vitamins and minerals in ideal combinations. Although getting our nutrients from a pill sounds super-convenient, there is a dearth of evidence that supplements deliver on their promise of enhanced health. A supplement’s literal meaning is to improve or complete something. Dietary supplements are meant to augment, not replace, a healthy diet. Your supplements will struggle to enhance your immunity and so battle diseases if you don’t eat the correct foods. Try tweaking your diet and, in special cases, supplementing with specific micronutrients, as per the advice of your doctor. 


Myth #2: Nutritional supplements will cure major illnesses


Remember, these aren’t miraculous pills; they’re just a value addition to your meals. Furthermore, these are more of a preventative than a therapeutic treatment. While it may benefit your health in certain ways, such as ensuring appropriate intakes of underutilized nutrients, they may not be able to treat serious or persistent illnesses. Long-term use, however, may help to lessen the severity of your condition or symptoms.


Myth #3: Supplementation is necessary for all


Despite the fact that supplements can benefit some people’s health, they are not appropriate for everyone. Most experts believe that these products are only helpful for certain population groups who are deficient in a given nutrient. Nutritional capsules or drinks boost your immunity and are to be used to create a strong wall in your body to ward off common infections. However, most healthy people don’t need one.


Myth #4: Supplements can be taken without consulting the doctor


Most of the dietary supplement products are commonly available without a prescription and are marketed as safe and natural. As a result, many people believe that these are harmless. Most of the nutritional supplements contain active ingredients that might not work for your body and also cause unwanted effects, such as elevated blood pressure, headache, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, or digestive symptoms. If you intend to use supplements but already have a medical condition, you should consult your physician first to understand your exact needs and enhance your health the right way. 


Myth #5: More supplementation is always better


When it comes to these dietary additions, more is not always better. In fact, taking in larger-than-recommended amounts can sometimes prove to be dangerous. Over-consuming some nutrients can have adverse effects on your body to the point of injury.  These supplements function best when they are introduced slowly and steadily. When you take a lot of water-soluble vitamins B and C supplements, your body may flush them out instead of storing them because it has a limited capacity to absorb nutrients on a daily basis. Take it exactly as directed by your health care provider, not more or less.



The bottom line is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, read supplement labels carefully, and avoid taking multiple dosages. If you’re deficient in a particular nutrient, talk to your doctor about whether you need to supplement your diet to make up for it.


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