A serious question for all you men who are tempted by the latest and greatest supplement: Do you really know what you’re putting in your body?
Here’s a breakdown of some popular myths and truths about supplements, and a guide to choosing the ones that are right for you.
Supplements can’t hurt me if they’re “all-natural.”
Supplements can interact with medications, foods and even with other supplements. Some of the most dangerous drugs known to man come from natural sources. The results of a drug interaction could be
disastrous for your health. Even all-natural supplements can hurt you.
Energy and “nutrition” drinks are safe because anyone can buy them.
As with every type of supplement or medication, some people can handle moderate consumption of energy drinks and meal supplement drinks without apparent adverse effects. It’s safer to boost energy with food, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. Many energy drinks and shakes contain large amounts of sugar, which can lead to weight gain and associated adverse effects.
Everyone needs supplements.
Supplements should be taken to address specific deficiencies that can only be detected through lab testing. Ask your doctor for tests and recommendations to determine which supplements, if any, you really need.
The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the supplements market the same way it regulates pharmaceuticals. Supplement manufacturers aren’t required to prove that their products work, or even that it’s safe.
Where to begin
Get with your doctor to look at your goals, your lifestyle, and the nutrients you’re getting from what you eat and drink. Is there an opportunity to upgrade your eating or hydration habits? How about your lifestyle? Let’s start there. Do you know your current nutritional status or nutrient status? The old saying of “you are what you eat” has been upgraded to “you are what you absorb.” Keep in mind that the body’s nutritional needs fluctuate with changes in diet, work schedule, stress, sleep, illness, and training levels or physical activity. Every person is unique, so consider your goals and current health before taking a supplement that could do more harm than good.
When supplements help
The supplement industry is booming because there are good supplements out there that meet specific needs. Talk with your doctor about supplements if you:
- Have a known nutrient deficiency or medical diagnosis requiring supplementation
- Have increased your physical activity or want to meet specific fitness goals
- Are experiencing increased stress
- Regularly have digestive issues
- Are unable to incorporate nutrient-dense foods in your diet for a specific reason
Take the smart approach to supplementation for the best results. If you need more information on how to get started and what supplements might be right for you, set up a nutrition consultation to explore the best options based on your current health and your fitness goals.
In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.