I want to focus on some of the most common supplement mistakes people make as well as a few misconceptions so that you can be a more educated and healthier consumer.
Using supplements that don’t contain the amounts of ingredients claimed on the label. A study conducted at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy showed that some products had not one bit of the active ingredients promised. That’s shameful! The study looked at 14 products containing glucosamine and 32 with chondroitin (some had both). Actual contents ranged from 115 percent of the label claim, all the way down to zero. To avoid this common pitfall, always buy your supplements from a manufacturer you trust.
Taking insufficient amounts of key nutrients. You need a lot of nutrients every day, some in pretty large quantities. To fit all you need into one pill or tablet, it would have to be the size of a golf ball. The manufacturers of popular multivitamins know that. What’s their solution? Cut back on the amount of each nutrient! The result is those one-a-day tablets that only have enough of each nutrient in them to meet the recommended daily allowances (RDAs). This may cut it for some manufacturers, but I don’t believe that these paltry amounts are nearly enough for optimal health.
Taking all supplements with food. Actually, some supplements are best taken on an empty stomach. For example, if you take amino acids with food, they compete with dietary protein for absorption. To get the most bang for your buck, take them a couple of hours after eating or at least 30 minutes before eating.
Storing supplements anywhere. The best place to store nutritional supplements is in a cool, dark, dry environment, such as a kitchen cabinet away from the oven. Keep your supplements tightly capped, and don’t expose them to excess light.
Ignoring expiration dates. The FDA doesn’t require an expiration date on supplement labels, so many companies don’t provide them. However, without them, you have no guarantee of freshness and potency. Look for products with expiration dates, and throw away those old dusty bottles of supplements. They won’t harm you, but they probably won’t do you much good, either.
Now that you know what to do, and what not to do, you’ll be able to get right to work making better use of the supplements you take and improving your well-being.