Why you shouldn't listen to your mom when she says to take your vitamins (Sorry mom)

Vitamins are expensive as shit. I don’t know the last time you looked at the prices at CVS but I’m not trying to pay $12.99 for multivitamins that I’m probably going to pee out. Yes, I said pee out. The majority of us do get our recommended, or close to our recommended, daily vitamin and mineral requirements through our diet alone and do not need supplements. And unless your doctor specifically prescribes you supplements, or you just love gummy vitamins because they taste like gummy bears, you probably don’t need them. I’m going to give you guys the low low on what vitamins are, what supplements are, and my experience with them.


What are

supplements?

Supplements are basically just any type of capsule, powder, pill or tablet that is ingested. Supplements can be one specific vitamin, a combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, protein powders, herbs, or enzymes. A lot of people take supplements if they don’t eat a nutritious diet or if they have a specific goal (aka taking fiber supplements to improve digestion) but they are usually not necessary. Supplements, unlike other orally consumed medications, do not have to be approved b the FDA for safety or effectiveness. (THIS SHOULD BE A GIANT RED FLAG). Instead, the manufacturers themselves are responsible for making sure their product is safe to go on the market. And although I’m sure most manufacturers are thorough when they test their products to ensure the safety of consumers (or safety of their own asses not getting sued) you really never know.

What are vitamins? (the most basic biology lesson you will ever read)

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. The majority of vitamins are water-soluable (meaning they dissolve in water) are stored in the body’s tissues while the remaining vitamins (K, A, D and E) are fat-soluable and stored in the fatty liver. It is pretty hard to OD on water-soluable vitamins because whatever excess amounts of these vitamins you intake, usually through supplements, you just “excrete” (fancy word for pee) out. Fat-soluable vitamins are easier to OD on because they are stored in the body and an excess of these leads to toxicity and a lot of negative health effects.



My dating history with Supplements

Although I talk this big talk about how supplements are kind of a scam, that doesn’t mean I’ve never bought into them. There are some supplements that have had a positive impact on my overall health and daily rountine, but there are also some where I’ve taken them for a couple weeks and thought “I wish I saved this $20 to spend on food.” Below I’ve listed some of the supplements I’ve ever tried and how effective they actually are.

Biotin Supplements

Biotin is one of those hyped up trends (like taking shots of apple cider vinegar) that some people swear by, others thing is a myth. Biotin is a B-vitamin that is important for women that are pregnant, but is also used to grow your hair, skin and nails. I took biotin after I got a horrendous hair cut (like side bangs no one look at me horrendous) and personally all it did was make me break out and make my hair dry out. If you’re interested in taking biotin for whatever reason my best advice is to be careful. It’s a slippery slope and biotin toxicity will absolutely dry out your hair no matter how many coconut oil hair masks you do. Also all those “biotin gummy bear” ads you see on Instagram are bullshit. Don’t pay $40 for Haribo gummy bear looking jawns that will literally just dry your hair out. Just promise me you won’t do it. I don’t care if Kim K “uses” them. Plot twist- Kim K really just uses extensions.

Hair, Skin, and Nails Supplements

Same story as biotin- dried my hair out. I will say though, that if you have nails that break alot taking these supplements every other day will strengthen your nails and prevent chipping.

Melatonin Supplements

““Out like a light, knocked for the night”- Drake” -Rachel Westhoff after taking melatonin. Melatonin does work, but not if you take it every night (which you shouldn’t do even if the label says “non habit forming” because remember the FDA does not approve a supplements health claims!!) . There are many studies linking melatonin overuse to depression and insomnia, but from time to time when I cannot sleep, taking a recommended dosage of melatonin is clutch.

Calcium Supplements

I went through a phase where I thought because I drank almond milk instead of regular milk I was deficient in calcium and needed calcium supplements (even though almond milk is a great source of calcium) because I’m insane and thought I was going to break a bone. All that these supplements did for me was make me bloated. If you are prescribed calcium supplements or you have a special diet (vegan, vegetarian, dairy free) where your calcium level is lacking, make sure to spread calcium supplement intake out through out the day to avoid feeling puffy.

Maca Supplements

No not matcha- maca. Maca is a fancy word for green coffee extract and the intended benefit of taking maca supplements is to naturally enhance energy levels. A lot of athletes use maca as a healthier alternative to drinking coffee, but I drink coffee like water so I quickly realized this supplement was a waste of my time and money because I’m already always wired. It can also be taken for proper fertility levels in guys but I really can’t relate to that one so I don’t know how effective it actually is. But these supplements do work if you feel tired and do not like the taste of coffee (god knows how).

I didn’t include all the herbal supplements I take, or have taken, but feel free to email me, DM me or comment below if you have any questions about any specific supplements. And moral of the story, use the money you would have spent on fancy supplements on real food and just get your vitamins and minerals the old-fashioned (and tastier) way.

Rachel WesthoffComment