A family member of mine is an RN, and I asked her for a medical perspective on vitamins and supplementation. Here are some helpful tips that she was kind enough to share. Thanks Theresa!
As a health care professional, something that I find concerning are the “mega” vitamin formulas that are popping up everywhere. Vitamins certainly have their place, especially if you are not eating well or have medical issues that require extra supplementation. Here are a few tips that I find helpful when trying to decide whether I am on the right track:
1. Find out where you are before starting any regimen.
Be sure to get an annual physical and lab draw. It’s important to know what your vitamin/mineral levels are before ingesting more. Especially with B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The following link has a wonderful breakdown of side effects resulting from overdose.http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=295
2. Research the brand.
The lack of regulation regarding vitamin and supplement development are well known. Be sure the brand you choose is not full of fillers that leave little room for proper absorption and that the amounts listed are actually accurate. Brands should be open about quality standards they use in product development. Be on the look out for recalled products as well. You can use a general google search and select established organizations to help with research.
3. Tell your doctor. Vitamins and herbal supplements can have detrimental interactions with commonly prescribed drugs. When your physician asks you to list medications you are taking, remember to include your supplements.