Fun fact of the day: vitamin pills or tablets have been around for more than a hundred years. The concept of packing essential nutrients into a convenient form for ingestion dates all the way back to the discovery of vitamins by Casimir Funk in 1912. Since then, there has been more than enough time for a few misleading rumors about vitamins to spread. In this article we are going to tackle some of the most popular rumors and debunk them as myths.
Myth #1: More is better, so look for products with 100% or more of the daily value of a nutrient.
Truth: When it comes to nutrients and your body, balance is far more important than having more. The human body has a delicate equilibrium in which various nutrients and vitamins interplay with each other. Take iron, for example. The accepted daily value for this nutrient in women is 18 mg per day. Interestingly enough, this number is only meant for pregnant women. The vast majority of adult women actually only need about 10 mg per day to maintain health. On top of that, women typically gain around 10 mg of iron per day simply from their diet consumption. Combined together, a woman who adds an iron supplement to a satisfactory diet will already be at 28 mg of iron that day, far above the actual maximum level necessary. This excess is enough to negatively affect the body’s absorption of various other nutrients such as zinc and calcium. Your body will also have to expend more vitamin C and E to take care of this excess. Thus, your body will be happier and healthier with vitamin intake that works around this equilibrium, rather than one that solely focuses on pumping unnecessary and unhealthy amounts into it.
Myth #2: A healthy diet can give you all the nutrients you need.
Truth: According to The National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, up to 9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in some key nutrient. Despite eating what can widely be considered a “healthy” diet, our everyday diet has a high possibility of lacking essential nutrients that contribute to good health. Thankfully though, according to Dr. Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling institute, a healthy diet combined with responsible implementation of vitamin supplements can close these daily nutrient gaps.
Myth #3: Any extra dosage of a vitamin or nutrient won’t have a negative effect; the body will just pee it out.
Truth: As established in our first vitamin myth, the human body relies on a set of fragile balances between daily vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Unfortunately, an excess of a given nutrient can eventually overload the body’s ability to filter and eliminate an overabundance. A good example is calcium, for instance. Too much calcium in the body will eventually surpass the filtration process and likely cause buildup in the kidneys and arteries. A commonly known effect of this buildup is the creation of kidney stones. This fragility is seen to be two-fold in lupus patients, as excesses in nutrients have the ability to trigger lupus flares.