Deborah Jeffery: Hi, my name is Deborah Jeffery. I am a registered licensed dietitian and today we are going to be talking about common myths concerning dietary supplements. So why do people take dietary supplements? Some people take them for legitimate health benefits but other people take them for reasons that may or may not be legitimate. For some people they may be looking for a help with say aging skin or to prevent arthritis or depression and some people are looking for other things such as; they want to build muscle or they are looking for improved sexual prowess. Many other reasons that people take dietary supplements are not valid or not proven by scientific evidence. So let's talk about some of the common misconceptions.
One thing people generally believe is that taking a supplement will make up for a poor diet. That is not true. You can't get all the nutrients provided in food in a supplement. They are not just available. So the best thing to do is to improve your eating habits, eat a wide variety of food. Another thing that people commonly feel that if they take supplements, it will treat or cure diseases. That has never been scientifically proven that any supplements can do that. For some people they think Vitamin C will prevent them from getting cold. That is not the case. Vitamin C might. Decrease the symptoms but it doesn't prevent people from getting colds.
Another very common thing, people think that the supplements would give them energy. Vitamins and minerals do not provide energy. Energy just comes from the fat, protein or carbohydrates in foods. Some of the vitamins will help cells convert the food into energy but vitamins themselves do not provide energy. Some people think if it is Herbal, it is natural that there is no problem with taking something that is a plant base. That is not true. Many of our drugs come from plants and these have active chemical components in them that can interact with medicines and so they are not harmless. We have to take cautions, when using them. People take vitamins to relieve the effects of stress. Stress does not cause the body to need extra nutrients. Any vitamin that claims that it will protect the body from the physical effects of stress is misleading. And many people think that when they take supplements it will either boost their athletic performance or that they can build muscle from supplements. And this is not the case. Athletes and people who are physically active need just about the same amount of nutrients as other people. The one thing that they do need is increased calories or energy from food and when they consume the extra food to meet their calorie needs, then they are getting the small amount of extra vitamins and minerals that they need. And protein will not build muscle. The only thing that builds muscle is physical activity. So, when you are thinking about taking a supplement, you have to consider why you are taking it and whether it is legitimate, whether that supplement can provide what you are looking for.
Coming up next, we will be discussing who needs to take a dietary supplement.