Vitamins & supplements: why they don’t work


In The United States alone, consumers spend about $7,5 billion a year for vitamins and dietary supplements, driven by the hope that these bright pills and powders will help to become younger, live longer, or at least to clean the organism and improve health. There is still no conclusive scientific agreement on the true value of these minerals and supplements from the medical standpoint: almost for every study, which states that we must get all the necessary substances exclusively with food, there is a work that confirms the benefits of certain additives. It looks like the advocates of both points of view agree on one thing: a person, in any case, should receive all the vitamins and minerals necessary for health, and if there is no way to eat a perfectly balanced and wholesome diet, then why not turn to food supplement for help.

However, as with any interference into our organism, we need to exercise utmost caution as for choice and designation of any supplement as well as the prescribed way of taking them.

Why Vitamins and Supplements Don’t Seem to Work

Before you even start taking some of these, you have to understand that neither vitamins nor minerals and supplements of any sort are not a medication. It means, they are not there to treat some conditions. Their purpose is to maintain your organism in the best condition while gradually facilitating some of its pivotal functions. However, if you’ve been taking some supplements for quite a long time and do not notice anything, there might be one of the reasons/mistakes we list below.

Reason #1: You Don’t Follow The Instruction

Take on an empty stomach or with food, before bedtime or early in the morning – all these instructions on the packaging or in the internal instructions are very important. Although supplements and vitamins are not drugs, they have something in common. Both have a chemical formula that can interact with the substances inside our organism, and thus their efficiency can be impacted. And even a glass of juice or tea you wash down your vitamins with can have a decisive effect. Especially if you mix things regularly thinking that the more the better.

Reason #2: You Don’t Get The Dosage Right

When choosing a vitamin complex (we remind you that you should consult a doctor before use), we usually focus on the average values ​​of the norm of certain vitamins and nutrients. Frankly speaking, that is not the smartest practice. The thing is, these uniform standards may not apply to everyone: they may turn out to be too low or too high. If for a long time after the start of taking the supplements you do not notice any improvement, maybe the dosage is simply not suitable for you, and you should fix it, (again, best to be done under the supervision of a doctor).

Reason #3: Inappropriate Storage

Very often vitamins and supplements are stored in a cabinet in the bathroom or in the refrigerator. Both options can be out of the question! Wet and warm environments (like bathrooms) or wet cold can be destructive for active substances and quickly turn useful additives into useless powder or a dummy drug.

Another important thing to pay attention to is the expiration date. Since the activity of nutrients inside supplement products tends to degrade over time, the closer to the production date you can get your beautiful bottle or package, the more bioavailable it will be, and the more active nutrients your body will absorb.

Reason #4: Wrong Combination

Some supplements and vitamins work better if taken in combination: for example, Calcium is best taken together with vitamins D and K, because they help Calcium to absorb it. Another successful combination is iron and vitamin C, which stimulates our body to actively produce this mineral. But there are another, less fortunate, examples: for example, the simultaneous intake of calcium and magnesium will ultimately interfere with the absorption of both of these minerals – the supplements simply cancel each other out. So make sure you combine everything correctly.

Reason #5: Unsuitable Product Form

Liquid or in powder form? Or chewable tablets? When it comes to vitamins and supplements, the form matters. For example, some elements are less stable in a liquid medium and the effectiveness of the product may weaken long before its volume runs out. Discuss with your doctor which form of supplements is right for you.

Reason #6: Yo don’t Take Them Long Enough

The overwhelming majority of the vitamins and supplements have a cumulative effect, which means they build up in your system. Every day we eat some delicious and healthy foods, we get vitamins and nutrients, and we spend these vitamins during the day. If for some reasons, your organism has not got enough of certain elements, the deficiency becomes too strong, it will take quite a long time to completely replenish it.

Is It Possible To Safely Boost The Efficiency Of Supplements?

Yes, most likely safety methods are possible — all you need is to meticulously audit your food and medical habits. As we mentioned above, the active substances that are part of dietary supplements actively interact with the medicines that we take, and even with foods and drinks. Thus, even small changes can significantly improve the results. What can be done?

How Medications and Supplements Interact

If you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication for your thyroid function you need to be super careful with supplements that have calcium: the active substances do not mix well,  they hinder the absorption of each other, and as a result, do not work. Make sure you take them with a sufficient time gap between doses. Best of all, wait until the end of the course of treatment. The same applies across the board: if you are taking any medications on a regular basis, be sure to study how they interact with those supplements or vitamins that you plan to start taking.

The best solution is to inform all your healthcare providers about all dietary supplements and drugs you take. That way, they can help you avoid harmful interactions.

Healthy Fats Can Help

In cases where you take fat-soluble vitamins, fatty products assist in better absorption. Let’s say, you are taking supplements containing vitamin D, — it might be a great idea to take them with a glass of milk, or a slice of avocado or a portion of fat yoghurt. Thus, it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the additive by almost a third.

Be Careful With The Grapefruit Juice

According to the FDA, grapefruit can lessen the effect of some supplements or drugs, especially those taken for anxiety relief. Just for extra safety, cut down on grapefruit juice during the period of taking the supplements.

Take Them At Right Time

For every vitamin, there is a designated time in the day when it is processed by a human organism in the best way. Thus, if we speak about the B group, the best part of the day for taking them is morning since one of their main functions is to energize you.  But for melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles, the evening is best suited.

Go Easy On Coffee

Firstly, caffeine itself can interact with certain active ingredients of dietary supplements, weakening or, on the contrary, enhancing their effect. Secondly, coffee is a strong diuretic, which means, the obtained additives can be flushed from the body before they are completely absorbed.

It’s Working!

Vitamins and dietary supplements cannot be used as a medicine for a particular disease – they have a completely different function. For the same reason, you should not expect them to give a “magical” or “wow!” effect. Nevertheless, if one carefully follows the prescribed usage frequency and dosages, if one combines them smartly with healthy food and the necessary medications, the desired effect will come. You will notice it by the way how radiant your skin gets, how tuned your organism functions become, how energized you feel. 

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