Here’s How You Can Safely Supplement Your Diet

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

Choosing a diet that’s right for you is vital to ensure that you have all the nutrients your body needs, thus eliminating the need to take supplements. However, supplements, including minerals, vitamins, and proteins, can be ideal for filling gaps in your diet. The National Center for Health Statistics reveals that 57.6% of adults in the US aged 20 years and above use dietary supplements, according to a report on Business Wire. 

It’s worth noting that some supplements have side effects if taken with other medicines or before surgery, while others can affect your overall well-being if you have other health problems. The good news is you can take supplements without experiencing side effects. Read on to understand how you can safely supplement your diet. 

how you can safely supplement your diet 1

Consult Your Doctor Before Using Supplements

While supplements are easy to access without a prescription, it’s wise to consult your doctor before buying any dietary supplement. Your doctor might not be aware of all supplement products available, but they can tell which ones are safe and not. Your doctor will also advise about the side effects supplements can cause, if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an underlying condition.

If you have a planned surgical procedure, including dental surgery, ask your doctor if it’s safe to continue taking supplements. In most cases, doctors discourage the use of dietary supplements as they can cause health problems during and after surgery. Typically, it takes two to three weeks for supplements to leave your body completely. Therefore, stop intake weeks before surgery. 

Consider Supplements Made From Whole Foods

Combining healthy foods with dietary supplements is key to maintaining good health. Therefore, eliminate processed foods that are high in added sugars as they hinder the effectiveness of vitamins and minerals supplements. Nutritionists also suggest taking dietary supplements made of whole foods, as they are healthier than those made of synthetic compounds. Whole food or superfood supplements are nutrient-dense packed vitamins, enzymes, proteins, and minerals. 

The main ingredients in these supplements are whole foods or superfoods, like wheat grass, barley grass, chia seeds, flax seeds, wheat grain, salmon, cinnamon, dark chocolate, raw milk, free-range eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Superfood supplements come in powder form, which can be plant-based or animal-based superfoods dehydrated and ground up. Taking superfood powder supplements is an easy way to hide nutrients in food, if you or the kids dislike the idea of eating leafy green vegetables or whole grains. Superfood powders also aid in weight loss, boost immune system, prevent oxidative damage, and are a convenient way to consume the daily recommended amount of nutrients. 

There’s no doubt these supplements are healthy, but it’s crucial to learn everything about using superfood powders in your diet beforehand, including their disadvantages. Common disadvantages of superfood powder supplements include over reliance, high cost, and likelihood to get little value for your money. 

Use One Supplement at a Time

Another way to ensure you’re taking dietary supplements safely is using one supplement at a time. When you mix different supplements together, you increase the risk of health complications and it’s difficult to know which ingredients are causing side effects. For instance, if you must take vitamin supplements, avoid combinations like Vitamins C and B12, Vitamins E and K, or Vitamins B9 and B12. These combinations might reduce the absorption rate of a vitamin or even hide the symptoms of one vitamin.

For example, combining Vitamin C and B12 reduces the amount of Vitamin B12 absorbed in the body. This means you’ll receive the antioxidants that Vitamin C provides to boost your immune system, but the amount of Vitamin B12 absorbed will be lower and unable to maintain your nervous system and support the formation of red blood cells. For this reason, consider taking these vitamin supplements two hours apart. Other supplement combinations you should avoid include green tea and iron, copper and zinc, calcium and magnesium, and calcium and zinc, or iron. 

Follow Dosage Instructions

Like with prescription medicine, follow dosage instructions when using supplements. Given that most supplements promise to boost energy, aid in weight loss, or enhance sport performance, it’s tempting to consume too much of one or two supplements. But taking too much of dietary supplements at once or for longer than recommended can cause a toxic effect on your body or even death. 

Symptoms of supplement toxicity include fatigue, confusion, migraines, vision problems, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, dizziness, nausea, and bone pain. With this in mind, make it a habit to read product labels even before making a purchase. Doing so helps you avoid supplements that don’t come with usage instructions or company details. The best supplements have instructions and contact details of the manufacturer on the label or packaging. With the manufacturer’s contact information at hand, you can easily call them for clarification if you have questions about their supplements. 

Dietary supplements are an excellent way of filling the nutrient gaps in your diet. However, for supplements to be effective, you must know how to take them safely. As a general rule of thumb, always consult your doctor before using supplements. Your physician will recommend the right supplements based on your medical history. Also, don’t mix supplements, consider supplements made from whole foods or superfoods, and follow dosage instructions carefully. 

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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