The truth about fad vitamins

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For many vitamin supplements, the jury is out if they actually do what they claim. Yet, as COVID-weary Americans have sought new ways to stay healthy within Omicron, supplement sales have skyrocketed, and some manufacturers are devising new ways to fit them into your system. Are their methods better than just having a multi with your morning coffee?

Vitamin IV Infusions

These are vitamins given intravenously at places like IV bars, where getting a vitamin infusion is as easy as ordering a latte.

The claim is that these infusions can quickly boost your energy, help you recover from a hangover, or support your immune system by pumping a supplement directly into your bloodstream. Formulas typically contain only a small number of vitamins, says Paul Thomas, RDN, scientific consultant in nutrition at National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Your body will absorb them, but there is no evidence that an occasional infusion will improve your health. You may feel better in the moment, but that’s likely due to a placebo effect or a hydration hit, experts say.

Should you try IV vitamin infusions?

Past. Vitamin IV drops are unnecessary and expensive.

Personalized vitamins

After answering a question during an online assessment or taking a home blood test, you can receive vitamin packs in the mail. But an online quiz isn’t a reliable way to find out which vitamins and minerals, if any, you need to supplement, says Camille Skoda, RD, registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Functional Medicine Center, which adds that a blood or urine test performed by a physician or dietitian is the gold standard. And while some of these products contain nutrients extracted from whole food sources rather than synthetically created vitamins, the end product is the same, as the supply has little or no effect on how the body absorbs the nutrient, explains Thomas.

Should You Try Personalized Vitamins?

Maybe, although it’s best to talk to your doctor first to see if you’re missing anything. Brands to try include Baze and To feed.

powdered vitamins

This type of vitamins are blends of nutritional supplements that can be incorporated into drinks. There is no significant difference in absorption between a powder and a pill, says Thomas: As long as a tablet or capsule is made correctly, it dissolves in the stomach and ends up in the small intestine, where most of the nutrients are absorbed. The main advantage here is that a drink is easier to swallow than a pill, says Skoda.

Should you try powdered vitamins?

Sure, but beware of brands listing vague “proprietary blends” of ingredients, says Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally full, finally thin. You want to know exactly what you’re taking. Brands you could try include, Life Extension Blending Powder and The Vitamin Shoppe Multivitamin and Mineral Powder.

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