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Why You Might Want to Consider Taking a Supplement Break

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With its promises of enhanced health and well-being, dietary supplements have quickly become a feature of many modern diets. Even though supplement use might have positive effects, there are occasions when skipping them is the best option. In this post, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of taking a supplement break, as well as the information you need to make an informed decision.

Taking a Supplemental Rest Period, Why You Should

While supplements are useful for ensuring adequate intake of certain nutrients, they should not be taken in place of a balanced diet. Long-term supplement use can raise blood levels of several vitamins and minerals to toxic levels. This is why some people choose to go without supplements for a while, giving their bodies a chance to recover and minimizing the hazards.

The Positive Effects of Skipping Supplements

Taking a supplement break occasionally can be helpful. The first benefit is that it encourages you to get your nutrition from whole foods rather than synthetic supplements. In the long run, this can help people eat better and get the nutrients they need. Two, taking a supplement break can help you figure out which ones are must-haves and which ones can be dropped. There is the potential for time as well as money savings. Finally, a supplement hiatus can help prevent potential adverse effects from excessive nutrient intake, including toxicity and interference with medication.

Learn More

Learn more about supplements in our Supplements Fact Sheet.

Why You Shouldn't Stop Taking Your Supplements

While there are benefits to taking a supplement break, it's also vital to be aware of the risks. If you are supplementing to treat a vitamin deficiency, for instance, and you stop for a while, your symptoms may return. In addition, discontinuing supplements could be dangerous if you have a preexisting medical problem or are taking medicine for it. Before making any modifications to your current supplement routine, you should always speak with your doctor.

Take a Supplemental Break: How to Do It

There are a few things to think about before stopping your supplement regimen temporarily. It's best to wean yourself off the supplements instead of stopping cold turkey. The onset of withdrawal symptoms can be avoided in this way. Second, make sure you're getting enough nutrients by eating a wide range of whole meals. The last step is to talk to a doctor about what you want to do and what is best for your health.

Conclusion

While supplements can be helpful when added to a balanced diet, taking a vacation from them is sometimes necessary and even recommended. Learning the benefits and drawbacks of taking a break from your supplements can help you make the best choice for your health. Before making any major adjustments to your supplement routine, it is imperative that you speak with a medical expert.

William H. McDaniel, MD

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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