Many of us take vitamins as a supplement when we don’t feel well or when we feel as if our body is not functioning properly. However, Stephanie Buhr says you may be skipping over a more important step when trying to ensure you get the nutrients you need.
“Vitamins and minerals are best obtained through a well-balanced diet, which includes nutrient-rich foods,” Stephanie, a nurse practitioner with Bon Secours Legacy Early College Health Center, explains. “However, multi-vitamins work great if you happen to be deficient in some category or another.”
She recommends referencing the USDA’s MyPlate resource that can be personally tailored to help you create a well-balanced diet. If that doesn’t result in the change you’re looking for, there’s one more important step to consider before visiting the vitamin store – consulting your health care provider. This is because if not taken carefully, vitamins can have a negative effect on your health.
“There can be dangers of taking too much of a good thing,” Stephanie shares in reference to vitamins. “Some people might not even need to take them.”
However, your provider can recommend what is best for your body and advise you on what will be beneficial without interfering with any of your current health conditions or medications.
If you do start taking vitamins, Stephanie advises you to “never exceed the recommended daily value” and read the label to “ensure that there are no added ‘values’ that you don’t need.”
Dietary supplements can be very beneficial in assuring you get the vital substances your body needs to function – vitamin D strengthens bones, vitamin C bolsters your immunity, vitamin B12 boosts energy levels; the list goes on and on. You can even find them in multiple forms according to your taste, from traditional pill form to gel capsules and even gummies.
“When picking between the different forms of a vitamin or supplement, there is not one form that is better than the other,” Stephanie says. “However, no matter the form, it is important to ensure that the vitamin or supplement is produced by a safe and approved brand. Make sure the brand is certified by the Federal Food and Drug Administration and approved by the National Institutes of Health.”
You can also check those agencies’ websites for verification when searching for supplements online rather than depending on the information provided by sellers.
If at any time you think you may be having an adverse reaction to a vitamin or supplement, remember to:
- Stop taking the vitamin or supplement immediately.
- Contact your health care provider.
- Report the adverse reaction to the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Looking for a new primary care provider? We’ve got you covered. Learn more about the primary care services we offer at Bon Secours.