Vitamins&supplements: Why They Don’t Work


In The United States alone, consumers spend about $7,5 billion a year on vitamins and dietary supplements, driven by the hope that these bright pills and powders will help us become younger, live longer, or at least clean the body and improve our health. There is still no conclusive scientific agreement on the true value of these minerals and supplements from a medical standpoint. In almost every study that suggests that we must get all the necessary substances exclusively with food, there is another report that confirms the benefits of certain additives. It seems that the advocates of both points of view agree on one thing: in any case, one should receive all the vitamins and minerals necessary for health, and if it is impossible to eat a perfectly balanced and wholesome diet, then turning to food supplements is a good idea.

However, as with any interference into our bodies, we should exercise the utmost caution for choice and designation of any supplement as well as the prescribed dosage.

Why vitamins and supplements don’t seem to work?

Before starting to take some of these, you must understand that neither vitamins nor minerals and supplements of any sort are not a medication. This means, that vitamins are not meant to treat serious conditions. Their purpose is to maintain your body in the best condition while gradually facilitating some of its pivotal functions. However, if you’ve been taking some supplements for a period of time and have not noticed any increased benefits, the reason may be listed below.

Reason #1: You aren’t following the instruction

Take on an empty stomach or with food, before bedtime, or in the morning. All these instructions on the packaging or on the container are very important. Although supplements and vitamins are not drugs, they have something in common. Both have a chemical formula that may interact with the substances within our bodies, therefore, their efficiency may be impacted. Even a glass of juice or tea you wash down your vitamins with can have a decisive effect. The effects may be the same, should you regularly mix things together, thinking the more, the better.

Reason #2: You don’t take the correct dosage

When choosing a vitamin complex, we remind you to consult a doctor, before starting any regimen. Usually, we focus on the average values of most vitamins and nutrients. Frankly speaking, that is not the smartest practice. These uniform standards may not apply to everyone, and they may turn out to be too low or too high. If you do not notice any improvement, after a certain length of time, it could be that the dosage is simply not suitable for you and you should consult a doctor to improve the benefits.

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: The incorrect 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 be absorbed. Another successful combination is iron and vitamin C, which stimulates our body to actively produce calcium. There are other, less positive examples. The simultaneous intake of calcium and magnesium will ultimately interfere with the absorption of both these minerals, as they simply cancel each other out. For this reason, it is important to combine minerals and vitamins correctly.

Reason #5: Unsuitable product forms

Liquid or powder form, or chewables? 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 supplement is right for you.

Reason #6: You 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 delicious and healthy foods, we get vitamins and nutrients, and we spend these vitamins during the day. If, for some reason, your body has not had enough of certain elements, the deficiency increases. 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 mentioned above, the active substances that are part of dietary supplements actively interact with the medicines that we take, even foods and drinks. Therefore, even small changes may 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 very 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. Even better, 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 may 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 good idea to take them with a glass of milk, a slice of avocado, or a portion of fat yogurt. Thus way, it will increase the effectiveness of the additive by almost a third.

Be careful with 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 while taking the supplements.

Take them at the right time

For every vitamin, there is a designated time of day, when it is processed by the body, in the best way. Therefore, when we speak about the B-group vitamins, the best time of day is morning, since one of their main functions is to energize you. Melatonin, on the other hand, helps regulate sleep cycles and is best taken at night.

Go easy on the coffee

Caffeine on its own may interact with certain active ingredients of dietary supplements, thereby weakening or, enhancing their effect. Cofee is a strong diuretic, meaning, the obtained additives may be flushed from the body before being completely absorbed.

It’s working!

Vitamins and dietary supplements cannot be used as a medicine for specific diseases, they have completely different functions. 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 correctly with healthy food and the necessary medications, the desired effect will be realized. This will become evident by skin radiance, how tuned your body functions become, and how energized you will feel.

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