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Why Nutritional Supplements Are Not Working For You

Posted: December 21, 2012

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Women’s health supplements are gaining popularity among Indian women– but are they really necessary and do they work? Find out!

By Maitreyee B. Chowdhury

Even as I sit down to write this, I am reminded of a conversation I overheard at a salon. An elderly lady in her late 40s was asking the attending beautician for suggestions on a good facial. The suggestions by the beautician were interrupted with questions such as, “I’m already taking Vitamin E, so why do I need a facial with Vitamin E, when it doesn’t work?” My exact thoughts were, why does a woman continue to take nutritional supplements inspite of knowing that it’s not working on her?

The lady at the salon isn’t the only one who takes health supplements every day, without understanding what her body needs, especially in India where one  tends to buy medicines off the rack.

How necessary are women’s health supplements?

Doctors and health supplement users have often been at loggerheads over the necessity of health supplements. Many people believe drug companies which advertise that health supplements can address numerous issues such as sexual problems, obesity, lack of stamina and deficient nutrition among other things. While many doctors would tell you that the intake of a balanced diet is usually more than enough and nutritional supplements might not really be necessary for you, most people tend to believe otherwise. But have any of you asked yourselves the question that inspite of such intake, why are health supplements not working for you?

Understanding your specific health challenges will give you an understanding of which health supplement will work for you and which won’t.

In May 2012, Huffington Post carried an article on health supplements which said, ”For more than a decade, researchers followed more than 35,000 men enrolled in SELECT, a clinical trial designed to see whether taking selenium and vitamin E might help prevent prostate cancer. Later in 2008, researchers from the Physicians’ Health Study-II reported that neither vitamin E nor vitamin C reduced the chances of major cardiovascular problems or cancer as hoped.”

Women’s health supplements are not like moisturizers, where one formula works for all! Understanding your specific health challenges will give you an understanding of which health supplement will work for you and which won’t. In this process a good health check up is extremely necessary for your physician to determine what department you lack in and where health supplements could actually work for you. Not only does the male and female body differ but recommended supplement intake might vary by age and even race. This might be one of the biggest reasons why health supplements are not working for you.

Making nutritional supplements work for you

If you are taking a generic supplement based on a self diagnosis, you might find health supplements are not working for you. This could be because women need a different supplement formula from that of men. Any physician will tell you that women’s vitamins and nutrition supplements should ideally contain nutrients that are proven to support and enhance a good balance for the female hormones especially for those in their 30s and above. Similarly, men’s health supplements should ideally contain ingredients that support the male prostate health.

Till a few years ago, a few people believed that taking organic food in place of what was easily available in the market would treat the lack of supplements in the body the healthy way instead of taking pills. But in recent times, with the concern that not all organic food are safe, people tend to wonder if their supplement levels are adequate inspite of the intake of organic food. Whether health supplements work or not, a balance is perhaps achieved in taking a middle path like most other things in life. It must also be seen that due to different levels of stress and lifestyle changes, we might benefit from health supplements if taken knowledgably and as per the requirements of our bodies.

Most people who use health supplements think it is enough for good health and forget to maintain a balanced diet and a regular exercise routine.

The answers to a question I posted at a women’s group in a social networking platform shows why health supplements may not be working for you:

– You buy nutritional supplements off the shelf.

– You see a friend taking  nutritional supplements and imagine that they would work on you too.

– Many women said that post taking the supplements they have not noticed either any bodily changes or improvements but continued taking the same because it was a matter of habit!

– Many conceded that they have not bothered to check on the brand or the authenticity of nutritional supplements.

– 90% women don’t know of any other health supplements other than Vitamin E (as a beauty supplement), Vitamin C and Calcium supplements and a multi-vitamin for overall health.

– Most people who use health supplements think it is enough for good health and forget to maintain a balanced diet and a regular exercise routine.

– Many people taking health supplements have an illusion of invulnerability, without understanding whether the supplement has the required vitamins and minerals in the dosage necessary for their bodies.

Many years ago, our grandmothers did not have the research facilities or the advanced knowledge of science but they had healthy lives because they understood the preciousness of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. In the present age, clean air may be your birthright but not always something most of us are blessed with. Understanding your body and the limitations of women’s health supplements can actually help you get more out of health supplements, if you cannot entirely avoid them!

*Photo credit: Krominator.

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