Which Supplements Are Right for You
Dietary supplements, including vitamins, fish oils, herbs and minerals, are everywhere—and about 50% of Americans take them each day. However, they’re not right for everyone.
Speak with your provider before taking any supplements. And, if your doctor recommends you start a dietary supplement, take them only as directed.
A common misconception is that adding a supplement, such as a multivitamin, will do wonders for your health. The truth is, if you eat healthy, you are likely getting the nutrients you need. Adding a supplement could cause a nutrient imbalance that could result in a number of side effects.
Here’s a rundown on a few popular supplements:
- Omega-3 fatty acids are shown in animal testing to promote heart health, increase blood flow and lower inflammation.
- Vitamins are good for helping to fix a nutrient deficiency.
- When it comes to preventing disease, however, vitamin supplements are not shown to help.
- Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body make new cells.
- Getting enough before and during pregnancy can help prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine.
- Creatine is popular among athletes for building muscle.
- Many studies have found creatine to be a safe and effective way to help build muscle.
- Protein supplements, such as whey, casein and soy, could be effective for those not getting enough protein.
- If you already have a high-protein diet, protein supplements are less effective.
- Calcium may be taken by adults 50 and over who are at risk for osteoporosis.
- Iron supplements are useful for those who suffer from anemia and are at an iron deficiency.
Dietary supplements are underregulated. Watch out for sensationalized marketing language that promises big benefits and keep in mind that “natural” doesn’t mean safe. Unlike using “organic” with food products, the word “natural” is wholly unregulated.
Make no mistake, dietary supplements have helped plenty of people. See if they are right for you by talking to your doctor.
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