How To Tell If You’re Taking Too Many Supplements
From multivitamins to adaptogens to homeopathic treatments, it’s safe to say that folks in the wellness space love their supplements right now. It doesn’t matter if they come in pill or powder or smoothie form, we want ’em all. But at the end of the day, how much is too much?
Well, the short answer is that it isn’t about a magic number. Rather, it’s about the balance of nutrition your body is receiving and any unwanted drug interactions you’re potentially causing.
Let’s discuss nutrition first. Your primary source of nutrition is (or should be) the food you eat. Every meal gives you a natural dose of vitamins and minerals, contributing to your daily dietary need for each one. Supplements, like the name suggests, are intended to help you reach that 100 percent mark with the nutrients you need — not provide all of it or even more than your body can use. Yet, that’s not how a fair number of supplements on the market today are designed.
So if you’re popping a lot of vitamins and minerals, pay close attention to those labels. Aim for no more than 100 percent of your daily need for each nutrient. The only ones that can exceed that benchmark without potentially causing issues are water-soluble vitamins (vitamins C and B complex) since your body flushes out the excess when you go to the bathroom. But fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) and minerals can build up in the body, leading to toxicity and sometimes severe health problems.
But what about those supplements that don’t have a daily dietary value and are just bonus boosts for your system? This is where things can get tricky. If you’re taking adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and holy basil alongside your nutritional supplements, the thing you need to focus on instead of a maximum intake is potential drug interactions. And each bottle isn’t going to list all of the ways the stuff inside could possibly react with other nutrients or medications.
So you have to do your research. When you add a supplement to your arsenal, search around on the internet (hello, WebMD) to see if that particular compound you picked interacts poorly with something else you already take, be it your birth control or an allergy pill or anything in between. And while you’re at it, double check your current supplement list to make sure there aren’t any conflicts already occurring inside of your body without you knowing it.
It doesn’t take 20 supplements to overdo it. You can take one multivitamin and have issues if the balance of nutrients inside is way off. So just read those labels, do that drug interaction research and think about how your existing nutrition from food factors into the mix. Oh, and maybe lean away from the idea that another trendy miracle pill is the answer to all of your problems, because it likely isn’t.
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