Are Nutritional Supplements Really Good for You? - A Comprehensive Guide

Are nutritional supplements good for you? Learn about the benefits & risks associated with taking dietary & nutritional supplements from an expert.

Are Nutritional Supplements Really Good for You? - A Comprehensive Guide

Getting our nutrients from a pill may seem like an easy solution, but supplements don't always guarantee better health. In fact, some can even be dangerous when taken in amounts greater than recommended. Manufacturers can add vitamins, minerals and other supplement ingredients to the foods we eat, particularly breakfast cereals and beverages. This means that we may be consuming more of these ingredients than we think, and more is not necessarily better.

Taking more than we need is expensive and can also increase the risk of side effects. For instance, too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, and lead to birth defects. Excess iron can cause nausea and vomiting and damage the liver and other organs. Dietary supplement labels may include certain types of health-related statements.

Manufacturers may say, for example, that a supplement promotes health or supports a part or function of the body (such as heart health or the immune system). These statements should be followed by the words: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” However, other research has revealed the benefits of taking multivitamins.

The Benefits of Multivitamins

One study concluded that frequent use of multivitamin and mineral supplements helped prevent micronutrient deficiencies that could otherwise cause health problems.

In addition to supplements, SPI is often found in energy bars, vegetarian burgers, and in some soups, sauces, shakes, and breakfast cereals. It's important to tell your healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and dieticians) about any dietary supplements you are taking. The federal government can take legal action against companies and websites that sell dietary supplements when companies make false or misleading statements about their products, if they promote them as treatments or cures for diseases, or if their products are not safe. If you're managing an underlying health problem (especially if you're taking medications) or you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to talk to your healthcare team before adding any new supplement to your regimen.

Vitamin D supplements are popular because it's difficult (if not impossible for some) to get enough from food. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, gummies and powders, as well as energy drinks and bars. However, some health experts have expressed concern that the isoflavones in soy supplements may contribute to an increase in the risk of breast cancer.

The FDA & Dietary Supplements

The Food Drug Administration & (FDA) is not authorized to review the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed.

You're more likely to have side effects from dietary supplements if you take them in high doses or instead of prescription drugs, or if you take many different supplements. If you're considering taking St. John's wort, learn about possible drug interactions and ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of this supplement compared with other options. A study looking at calcium intake found that people who got their calcium from food had a lower risk of suffering from atherosclerosis than those who took calcium supplements which were associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis.

A systematic review analyzing the possible effects of nutritional supplements on cardiovascular health (mainly heart attacks and strokes) suggests that few supplements help prevent heart disease; only omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid were effective. As an expert in nutrition and dietary supplements I can confidently say that nutritional supplements can be beneficial for your health when taken correctly and in moderation. It's important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure it won't interact with any medications you may be taking or cause any adverse side effects. Additionally, it's important to read labels carefully so you know exactly what you're taking and how much.

Ernie Levitt
Ernie Levitt

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