Three myths about vitamins and supplements
We are continuously bombarded with information about healthy nutrition across media channels and from friends and family, so how do we know what to believe?
Let’s separate fact from fiction and set the record straight on why you should consider vitamins and supplements and what to know when taking them.
Myth 1: Diet alone is enough to get the right nutrients
Reality: Micro-nutrients such as iodine, copper and zinc; vitamins such as vitamin A, C, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins; and minerals, such as calcium, sodium and potassium are all vital to the proper functioning of all of our body’s systems.
In an ideal world, we’d all be eating copious amounts of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, and getting all the vitamins and minerals we need from dietary sources. Sadly, however, our modern diets are lacking in many nutrients and it’s not always possible to meet the recommended guidelines through food.
Leading medical journals therefore recommend all adults take a good multivitamin because most do not consume optimal levels of essential vitamins from diet alone.
Myth 2: All supplements are created equal
Reality: Science is rapidly developing and production technology is helping to improve the efficacy of today’s vitamins and supplements.
Although many different brands develop similar supplements, the quality of these supplements often differ, as does their bio-availability (the rate and degree to which the vitamin can be absorbed in the body).
For example, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) comes in two forms – Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol. CoQ10 plays a critical role in making the cellular energy needed by our most important organs and muscles, like the heart, however it must be converted into Ubiquinol before it can be best absorbed by the body.
As we age, we make less Ubiquinone and have a harder time converting it into Ubiquinol. Therefore supplementing with the more absorbable Ubiquinol may be recommended.
Myth 3: I can take the same supplement at any age
Reality: As we age, our bodies become less able to make or absorb nutrients and less efficient at converting some nutrients into the active ingredients we need to fuel our bodies.
For example, as we hit our 30s our bodies start to have a harder time converting Ubiquinone into Ubiquinol. This can affect our cellular energy and prevent our organs from functioning at optimal levels.
For this reason, some health care professionals may suggest adults over the age of 30 take Ubiquinol rather than CoQ10 supplements.
Speak to your healthcare practitioner before taking Ubiquinol or CoQ10 supplements to determine if they are suitable for you. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare practitioner.
 Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults Clinical Applications. Robert H. Fletcher, MD, MSc; Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, DrPH, http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/195039