• Aging Well Denver

Are All These Supplements and Vitamins Really Going to Help Me?

Written by an anonymous contributor.

Recently, I went into Sprouts to get some supplements that a friend told me would help with my menopause symptoms. Not to be melodramatic but, I am suffering…. seriously suffering!

I have hot flashes galore, night sweats, weight gain, my hair is brittle and all sorts of great stuff. I’m simply tired of feeling this way. So, I was complaining and my friends finally gave me every wives tale they could recall. Nothing worked so I found myself googling.

You may be asking why I’m not running to the doctor asking for hormones? Oh, I will if I have to but, I’m one of those people who try everything before going to the pharmaceuticals. My family history just isn’t conducive to adding hormones to it so I thought I would turn to more natural alternatives. Imagine my surprise as I walked into the supplement aisle. It’s simply overwhelming! I mean really there are two full aisles that start at A and go to Zinc with everything in between.

So, it had me thinking; are these all gimmicks? Do they even work? I’ve read about the benefits of the key vitamins such as B12. I know B vitamins help convert food into energy but when I looked at some of the bottles they are supposed to also help with cognitive functions. Who couldn’t use more of that?

Vitamin D is also supposed to help with the bones and joint health. As we age adding a vitamin D supplement is supposed to help us absorb calcium which could help prevent broken bones. My question to the clerk was why can’t I just drink milk to get my Calcium and go out in the sun. She rightly pointed out I couldn’t drink enough milk to offset the loss of the calcium and being a fair skinned person the sun isn’t really all that good for me.

Grocery and health food stores alike are jam-packed with bottles and oils, creams and pills all vowing to help! The problem is all of these vitamins and supplements have side effects. Some may be very minor and others are pretty disastrous.

Whenever we put something that is concentrated into our systems we face the fact that we could have unintended consequences. You may be asking “Come on, it's natural what could happen?” Serious issues can happen. Recently, an acquaintance started to turn yellow. We watched as her health began to decline. She is a very healthy, happy and active person who likes to workout. She’s the picture of health. The problem was she was taking natural supplements and when the doctor gave her a steroid shot to fix her back it interacted negatively with some of her supplements. It was so scary! The doctors couldn’t figure out what happened. Her kidneys started to shut down and her liver could not function correctly.

She survived – it was a scary situation and apparently, it happens all the time. These supplements are natural but that doesn’t mean that we can just self-diagnose ourselves and fix our health issues.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

While I’d love to say I learned everything I needed to learn and I’m no longer suffering from the menopause symptoms that’s just not true. I got worried in that aisle and realized I don’t know enough to help myself. I mean I wouldn’t go to the neighborhood kid to fix my car’s engine. Why would I think it was okay to go to a clerk to fix my internal engine? Just doesn’t make a lot of sense. No disrespect to the people who work in these stores but really, I have one body. If I choose wrong I could permanently damage it.

I have made an appointment with an endocrinologist to get professional assistance. If you know what you’re doing feel free to buy your supplements. I would just caution you, check with a professional before starting anything to ensure it works with your current health and does not interact with your current medications.