1. We need to take vitamin and mineral supplements every day to stay healthy.
Most people do not need supplements to stay healthy. You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy, balanced diet.
You might need to take supplements if you follow certain special diets such as a vegan diet which lacks vitamin B12 as its main sources came from animals. If you follow special diets such as a vegan diet, you might need to take supplements.
2. Taking more vitamins and minerals is better than taking less.
MYTH – In some cases, taking too much vitamins and minerals be harmful to your health. For example, having too much Vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage, resulting in pain and numbness in our hands and feet.
There is a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for all vitamins and minerals. This tells us the amount needed to maintain good health in the average person. If you are taking multiple supplements, check with your doctor or pharmacist to avoid taking too much of a certain vitamin or mineral.
3. I do not have to worry about taking my medicines with vitamins or minerals.
MYTH – Some vitamins interact with certain medicines. For example, warfarin, a blood thinner, interacts with vitamin K and causes warfarin to lose its effect.
It is important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements.
4. Vitamins can prevent or cure diseases.
MYTH– Vitamins can be used to cure or prevent certain diseases only if the diseases are caused by the lack of those vitamins. Some examples include:
Scurvy: caused by the lack of vitamin C resulting in gum and skin bleeding and general weakness.
Spina bifida: a condition caused by the lack of folic acid, where the spine and spinal cord does not form properly in a baby.
Taking large doses of vitamins does not cure or prevent a disease. For example, taking large amounts of vitamin E will not prevent heart problems.
5. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements means I do not have to worry about what I eat.
While taking supplements can improve your levels of vitamins and minerals, it is still important to have a healthy, balanced diet that has plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat and whole grains.
A healthy, balanced diet will lower the risk of developing long term medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, which vitamin and mineral supplements cannot prevent.
6. Omega-3 is good for my heart.
FACT – Consume one to two servings of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fish oil per week to maintain overall heart health. One serving of fish is around 140g.
However, when taken in large amounts, omega-3 fish oil can actually increase bad cholesterol levels, also known as low density lipoprotein (LDL), instead. Some studies also show that high amounts of omega-3 supplements can increase the risk of bleeding. Please check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any omega-3 supplements.
7. Taking supplements with the AREDS formula benefits people with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
FACT – Eye supplements marked with the AREDS or AREDS 2 formula are suitable for people with a medical condition called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This is an eye condition which causes the loss of central vision over time. AREDS or AREDS 2 supplements contain high doses of vitamins and minerals to prevent AMD from getting worse, but do not prevent you from getting AMD.
If you smoke, the AREDS formula would not be suitable as it contains beta-carotene, which can increase your risk of lung cancer. The AREDS 2 formula, which contains lutein and zeaxanthin instead of beta-carotene, is suitable for use in smokers.
8. Taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements helps with knee pain.
FACT – Glucosamine and Chondroitin are natural compounds that can be found in the joint and they are usually formulated together in supplements to maintain joint health. Studies show that if you suffer from more serious knee pain, you might benefit from taking a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement. However, if your pain is mild, you might not get any benefit.
9.Vitamin C is good for boosting the immune system.
FACT – Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has more benefits than just improving your immune system to prevent complications from the common cold. Studies found that vitamin C may reduce your risk of stroke or other heart diseases and improve the skin aging process. In addition, vitamin C also helps with the absorption of iron that is important for making red blood cells in your body.
10. Vitamin C helps to protect the skin against damage.
FACT - Vitamin C does not reverse signs of aging such as wrinkles, which develop naturally over time. However, it can help to protect the skin against damage caused by sun exposure. Studies have also found that Vitamin C helps to produce collagen, which helps to keep your skin supple and smooth.
Vitamin C tends to break down quickly once it is exposed to heat, air and light. Therefore, it is usually manufactured in serum form, which the skin can absorb more efficiently.
Products which contain 8% or more of Vitamin C are usually more effective. However, higher concentrations above 20% may cause skin irritation and should be used with caution.