The big guy at the gym with bulging biceps and a t-shirt that says, “Real Men Lift” insists by his diet consisting of protein, protein, and—you guessed it: more protein—is the only way to get that beach body you’ve been dreaming about.
Even your goofy neighbor with a bizarre affinity for taxidermy (no judgement) seems to think he’s qualified to dish out diet and exercise advice.
When talking about health and wellness, there’s no shortage of inaccurate information—particularly when it comes to supplementation.
But with so much coming at you from friends, colleagues, and Internet “experts,” how can you separate fact from fiction?
Let’s check out some widely accepted supplement myths, cut through the white noise, and then get to the facts.
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #1
Believe it or not, dietary supplements are regulated and subject to detailed and comprehensive regulations to uphold safety and quality. It’s just not necessary to hold them to the same standard the government demands of pharmaceutical products designed specifically to treat diseases.
Once a dietary supplement is on the market, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has safety monitoring responsibilities. And, sure, there are limitations to the FDA’s regulations, but there are still companies who go above and beyond to make their consumers feel safe by obtaining third-party verification. ConsumerLab.com® is just one company some businesses turn to when they need to test their products.
There are even some companies who have their manufacturing facility registered by NSF International—an independent, nonprofit organization that helps protect public health by writing standards for food, water, air, and consumer goods; testing and certifying products based on those standards, inspecting for GMP, and providing ongoing monitoring.
On top of ConsumerLab.com verification and manufacturing in a registered NSF facility, there are supplement companies that use trusted United States Pharmacopeial testing methods to help ensure they adhere to higher standards than even the FDA requires.
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #2
Although the FDA does not require an expiration date on dietary supplements, it does require that if one is printed on the label it must be supported by stability-testing data. Therefore, if you see an expiration date on supplements, that date is the latest possible date to which the company can guarantee ideal product quality and potency.
Keep in mind that supplements may not spoil like fresh produce, but they will gradually lose potency over time. While using those expired vitamins may not be dangerous, it’s definitely less beneficial. So get in the habit of taking your dietary supplements regularly as directed on the label to get the most value and benefit.
Technically, supplements that are stored properly in unopened bottles should last at least two years before any loss of potency occurs. Once they are opened, they should hold up for at least one year.
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #3
Flavin comes from the word flavus, which means yellow. The body excretes the riboflavin that it doesn’t need at that time, and the amount can vary depending on your diet and lifestyle.
Just because you may get more riboflavin than you need at a given time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting enough of many other important nutrients on a daily basis. In fact, it’s rare for most people to eat a balanced diet—the fast-paced nature of today’s world makes it incredibly difficult.
- Riboflavin can be found in some foods such as: milk, eggs, lean meats, nuts and leafy vegetables like kale.
- B vitamins help your body metabolize the proteins and fats in your diet and support the health of your skin, eyes, and liver.
- Riboflavin also plays an antioxidant role in the body, helping it to fight off cell damage caused by free radicals.
An Expert’s Perspective:
“Expensive urine is a bizarre argument because a $50 restaurant meal and a bottle of fine wine also lead to expensive urine, but no one seems to be complaining about those things. Numerous studies have shown, however, that vitamin supplements do increase peoples’ blood levels of those nutrients.”
—Jack Challem, veteran nutritional reporter
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #4
We know that children develop so quickly in the early stages of their lives, and due to this rapid physical and mental growth, supplementation is needed to assist with proper brain development and other health-related processes. EPA, DHA, and vitamin D are especially important for growing brains and bodies.
The same is true for the elderly. As our bodies age, medical issues, a decrease in appetite, and even changes to our digestive systems can lead to potential vitamin deficiencies. These often include: vitamin D, B12, and calcium.
But the young and old(er) aren’t the only people who need a little help. Even some of the world’s most elite athletes have been known to supplement because of their intense lifestyle. For instance, five-time WBO Welterweight champion Tim Bradley has been known to go on record saying how much he relies on nutritional supplements, especially during his intense training leading up to a fight.
“I’ve been taking USANA nutritional supplements since 2008, and I have captured five world championships since then. I have the best nutrition in the world and, because of that, I have an advantage when I step foot in the ring since I’m already ahead of the game.”
—Tim Bradley, five-time world champion
More than half of all Americans take one or more dietary supplements daily or on occasion.
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #5
The quality of a supplements can totally vary from brand to brand, so you should definitely compare nutritional labels to know exactly what you’re getting. Don’t let vague labels like “all natural” persuade you.
Do your research and find out what you need. You know your nutritional needs aren’t the same as your friends’ or coworkers’, so why are you buying into the latest “one-size-fits-all” fad you stumbled across while browsing in the grocery store?
Did you know there are health assessments out there designed specifically to help you discover what nutrients your body may be lacking? They even pinpoint habits that might be creating a negative impact on your health and provide feedback on what you can do to turn those habits into positive lifestyle choices.
Those assessments are great, but there’s really nothing more valuable than the insight you can get from a trusted physician. If you’re really curious about what’s going on with your body, pay a visit to your doctor and get some blood work done.
Ditch the Filler
Scared that what you’re getting is all filler with no real nutritional value? Fortunately, there are supplement companies who take what they do very seriously and take extra care to make sure their supplements are made with the highest-quality ingredients.
Here’s what you should expect from your manufacturer.
- Find a company that carries a potency guarantee, ensuring that what is defined on the label is actually in the product.
Purity—Free from impurities or contamination
Identity—Ingredients in the product are verifiably the ingredients on the label
Composition—Contains exactly what it is suppose to contain in exactly the right proportions
Strength—Offers the proper concentration of ingredients
Quality—Meets all specified exceptions
- Research companies who model their product development after Good Manufacturing Practices.
- Research companies who operate in an FDA-registered facility, following the FDA’s highest possible standard for manufacturing.
Do your research! There are companies out there that actually care about your health and won’t take you for granted.
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #6
Just because you’re “eating well” doesn’t mean you’re getting all your servings of each of the five major food groups (the ones found on the USDA food pyramid). That would be really hard!
Here’s a quick rundown of what you would need to eat every day to meet their dietary guidelines for a well-balanced diet:
- Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts group: 2-3 servings
- Milk, yogurt, and cheese group: 2-3 servings
- Fruit group: 2-4 servings
- Vegetable group: 3-5 servings
- Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group: 6-11 servings
I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of food to be eating in one day. So I think it’s fair to say that even if you’re eating a well balanced diet, you’re most likely not getting the daily-allotted amount of vitamins and minerals. That’s where supplements come in.
An Expert’s Perspective:
“Those who believe that you can get all the nourishment, including vitamins and minerals, you need to sustain optimal health throughout life from food alone can be very smug. They have the equivalent of an orthodox religious belief—‘food is everything.’ They don’t have to concern themselves with the fact that the nutritional value of foods their patient eats may be greatly inferior to the listed nutritional values given in food tables.”
—William Kaufman, MD
Did you know?
There’s new technology being used in vitamins that nourishes your body with the right balance of nutrients to create the ideal environment for optimal cellular health. The technology has the power to tap into your cells’ ability to preserve and regenerate. It does this by cleaning up the harmful byproduct of energy creation happening deep inside your cells, giving you healthier, longer-living cells. Pretty cool, right? Why wouldn’t you want to use supplements after hearing about that technology?
SUPPLEMENT MYTH #7
Sure, this statement might be true if your kitchen countertop currently looks like the vitamin aisle of your local supermarket. And that can easily happen because there are hundreds of options to choose from. You want a calcium supplement, vitamin D, fish oil, melatonin, vitamin C, glucose, B12—the list goes on and on.
What are you suppose to do—carry all those bottles around all day, every day? Talk about inconvenient.
But did you know there’s a company with a solution?
USANA Health Sciences has developed what is called the True Health Assessment. This revolutionary online tool helps you discover your personal vitamin needs. And once this is determined, they can split your recommended vitamins into convenient AM and PM packs.
Visit their site to create your own personalized MyHealthPak and choose which supplements you want in your 30-day supply. They slap your name on the box and BAM…you’re all set.
Doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
1. The best companies follow a strict set of guidelines for purity and quality.
2. Always pay attention to the expiration date to ensure you’re getting the most out of your supplements.
3. That neon glow in the toilet bowl is a lot more than just expensive pee—that’s proper nutrition at work.
4. Everyone can benefit from supplementation, regardless of age. Chat with your doctor to find out what you need when it comes to nutrition.
5. Some supplements are in a league of their own when it comes to quality. Do your research.
6. A well-balanced diet doesn’t always equal optimal nutrition.
7. While juggling a dozen vitamin bottles throughout the day is hardly anyone’s idea of convenience, there are still ways to make effective supplementation simple and stress free.
Click here for the full supplement myths infographic. We highly encourage you to share this with your social networks so we can spread the nutritional truth as far as possible!
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