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Another very important aspect of choosing the right multivitamin is quality. It is of the utmost importance for you to choose a product that you trust and one that has been tested by independent labs to ensure potency and purity, allowing you to recommend the best product possible to your patients.

Myth #4

"My urine is fluorescent yellow; all of the vitamins I take are just creating expensive urine!" This is a comment that I have heard from patients many times. This color change is associated with the B vitamin riboflavin. Its structure causes the "glowing" yellow urine that your patients may have seen. Don't worry; this isn't causing your patients harm. B vitamins are water soluble, so your body doesn't store them long term. The color change is just extra riboflavin being excreted. (In fact, if it's in the urine, it means it got into the bloodstream first!) When a B vitamin supplement is taken and this change occurs, this result is not bad, because the body is getting enough to run the proper functions and excreting the rest as waste. If patients are taking a B vitamin complex and this isn't happening, they might actually need to take more, because the body is using everything that was provided in the supplement and they may benefit from a bit of a higher dose.

Myth #5

"Taking all of my supplements at once has the same effect as splitting up the dosing throughout the day." In our time crunched lives, we are always looking for something to make our day easier. When it comes to the vitamins and supplements that patients are taking, most people just want to get it over with and not have to think about it again that day. For some supplements, such as the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, it is okay to take one dose daily as your body will build up its storage of these nutrients to use when extra is needed. With most other supplements, the body is unable to build up longer-term storage, so it is most appropriate to split the daily dose into 2 or 3 administrations.

I have told my patients many times that if they would be able to take a small dose each hour throughout the day, this would be the best case scenario, as your body will have a constant "drip" of nutrients at hand to support daily function. While I know this is not likely to happen, I make the statement to highlight the importance of dividing the dose up throughout the day. Another consideration is the timing of the dose. Certain dietary supplements are designed to be taken right before going to sleep, upon rising, or at a specific time in the afternoon. If this timing was not followed, the intended benefit of the supplement may not be realized.

Bonus Myth

"It is unsafe to take medications and supplements at the same time." This is a myth due to its broad blanket-statement nature. While many interactions exist between pharmaceutical medications and dietary supplements, (and make it unsafe to use the products in combination), most medications can be safely combined with supplements. Additionally, substitutes for interacting substances often exist. It's vital to refer to a trusted source that will provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant interactions and contraindications.

A great resource is provided by the National Institutes of Health on herbs and supplements. This resource also provides detailed information on the potential interactions with not only medications, but also other supplements, herbs and foods. You can find it at www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/herb_All.html.

Now that we've busted some of the most common myths about dietary supplements, you should be better prepared to use them personally or in your practice. As a rule of thumb, be sure to do your own research so you don't fall victim to believing in one of the many myths that surround the use of dietary supplements.

References

  1. Davis, Donald R. "Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence." HortScience 44.1 (2009): 15-19. Print.
  2. "DRI Tables." USDA National Agricultural Library. USDA, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.
  3. Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 1909-2000. Rep. no. 56. USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Nov. 2004. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.
  4. Hanzlik, R. P. "Relative Bioavailability of Calcium from Calcium Formate, Calcium Citrate, and Calcium Carbonate." Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 313.3 (2005): 1217-222. Print.

Christopher Oswald, DC, CNS, is currently a medical educator on staff with Emerson Ecologics, the home of the Emerson Quality Program, as well as a 2007 graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University. Upon graduating, he went into private practice with a focus on using functional medicine to approach tissue health, adrenal health, GI health, weight loss and optimizing sports performance. Along the way, Dr. Oswald learned how to successfully combine supplement sales within a chiropractic practice. He can be reached at .

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