6 Common Dietary Supplement Myths
Knowing whether to trust all of the supplement-related information you find on the internet can be difficult. Here we debunk 6 common nutrition myths to help you make the best dietary choices. So, read on and spread the (factual) word!
“Fish oil is a fad with no science to support its benefits.”
So false! Today’s typical Western diet is deficient in sources of EPA and DHA (good fats found in fish oil), and research suggests these deficiencies are putting people at risk for innumerable suboptimal health outcomes. Decades of clinical research studies support fish oil’s countless health benefits. Learn more about how omega-3s can support your health.
“Probiotics are all the same.”
Although it’s tempting to think of all probiotics as one and the same, the truth is, they’re absolutely not. Different strains of probiotic microorganisms will vary according to their distinct therapeutic properties, tolerance to stomach acids, ability to adhere to the gut, and more. This means that the benefits of a probiotic product depend upon the probiotic strain(s) it contains.
You can identify the strain(s) in a product by viewing the Supplement Facts panel. Look for a suffix (including capital letters and numbers) for the bacteria name(s) listed. For example, for Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1, “DDS®-1” indicates the strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Learn more about the benefits of this probiotic powerhouse.
“The more CFUs a probiotic has, the better.”
Not necessarily. Although you might assume that more equals better, the right dose of probiotics will depend on your purpose for taking them. For everyday immune and digestive support, a daily dose of 10-15 billion CFU is advisable. Higher doses may be beneficial for people with significantly altered gut microbiomes due to illness, intense antibiotic therapy, or exposure to environmental toxins; however, there is little evidence to suggest that taking a higher dose than needed will result in greater benefits. Learn more about how to maintain daily digestive health.
“Multivitamins have no benefits.”
Not true. We all know that the human body functions best with an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. Yet, most Americans fail to meet the daily requirements. Research finds that multivitamin users, on the other hand, are much more likely to meet dietary guidelines. Learn more about the benefits of a multivitamin.
“I don’t need to take a multivitamin.”
Although whether or not to take a multivitamin is a question best answered with the help of a health professional, it is worth noting that most Americans fail to meet the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals. Even those consuming an adequate supply of nutrients can have nutritional deficiencies due to certain medications, herbal supplementations, pollutions, and genetic alterations that disturb nutrient stores.
Multivitamin supplementation is especially advisable for pregnant women (or women planning to become pregnant), adolescent girls, and those with:
- Bariatric surgery
- Various medical conditions
- Disordered eating
- Restrictive diets (such as a vegan diet)
- Weight loss goals
- Food allergies
“You can get enough vitamin D from the sun.”
Maybe if you lived close to the equator (below 30°N or 30°S to be precise) and spent 20-45 minutes every day outside with nothing on but a bikini. If that’s not part of your daily routine, then you’re likely not getting enough. There are just so many factors that limit its production from the sun: clothing, sunscreen, darker skin pigmentation, higher latitudes, wintertime, cloudiness, etc. Luckily, supplementation can help. Learn more about the importance of vitamin D supplementation.