The right supplements can help your heart, sharpen your immune system, and even improve your sex life. The wrong ones, however, can be ineffective or even harmful. You run into problems because most men are ‘prescribing’ these things themselves. Don’t take supplements with abandon. They should be used carefully because taking in too much of certain nutrients can cause problems.
Whether it’s your weight, spotty skin, or those fine lines threatening to turn into full-blown wrinkles, we all have those nagging body issues that we wish we could get rid of by snapping our fingers or popping a pill. While the right supplement could very well fix those little flaws you see when you look in the mirror or feel when you step out of bed in the morning.
Although many of the miracle weight loss cures and wrinkle-fighters gathering dust on the shelves of your local drugstore are likely little more than well-packaged snake oil, plenty of the supplements on the market can actually help you shave off that spare tire, slow the aging process, or heat up your sex life — that is, of course, if you find the right one to suit your needs.
Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out half your paycheck testing every vitamin at the store to find out what will actually work for you — that’s where Eat This, Not That! comes in. Best supplements for every health issue, from heart disease to less-than-lustrous hair, making it easy to figure out what to purchase and what to pass up on your next shopping trip. Before deciding on anyone take advice from your own doctor, since many supplements can interact with other medications—to fine-tune your strategy.
A dietary supplement, as defined by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), is a product that:
- Is intended to supplement the diet
- Contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and certain other substances) or their constituents
- Is intended to be taken by mouth, in forms such as a tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap, or liquid
- Is labeled as being a dietary supplement.
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Dietary supplements are wildly popular. Million of people take at least one supplement, running up a collective tab of over billions of Dollars. It’s easy to see why supplements are such big sellers. The public has a legitimate desire for good health, and the supplement industry has a strong desire for good sales.
Medications are regulated by the FDA. Before a prescription or over-the-counter drug can be sold, the manufacturer must submit data supporting its safety and efficacy, and after the medication is approved, the FDA continues to monitor adverse reactions. Even with all these safeguards, problems still occur, prompting the FDA to withdraw many medications and to require strong warning labels on others.
Manufacturers can sell these products without submitting evidence of their purity, potency, safety, or efficacy.
For most claims made on product labels, the law does not require evidence that the claim is accurate or truthful. In fact, the FDA’s first opportunity to weigh in comes only after a product is marketed, when it can take action against products that are adulterated, misbranded, or likely to produce injury or illness. Since nearly all supplements are used without medical supervision or monitoring, most of the estimated 50,000 adverse reactions that occur in the United States each year go unreported.
How do we really know –
If a supplement’s label or ads won’t give you reliable information, how can you find out if a supplement can help — or, for that matter, hurt? Although it’s a slow process, careful, objective medical studies provide the guidance that counts.
In most cases, scientific investigations of supplements start with simple observational studies, in which researchers compare the health status of folks who take a particular supplement with the health of people who don’t take the supplement. It’s an important effort, but the results don’t always hold up. So the next step is to conduct randomized clinical trials, in which volunteers are assigned by lot to take either the supplement or an identical-looking placebo (“dummy pill”) while researchers track their health. In the best studies, neither the volunteers nor the researchers know who is getting the real thing until the code is broken at the end of the trial.
What do we know
Everyone wants to know if supplements can help. It’s a good question. Here’s where we stand today — but you should keep an eye out for new results since recommendations will change as scientific studies trickle in. Unfortunately, in most cases, the studies have failed to confirm our hopes, though there are exceptions.
Many people take supplements in the belief that they will preserve health or ward off illness; many others use supplements in an attempt to treat specific conditions that have already developed. We’ll have a look at popular supplements in both categories, starting with preventive supplements used principally by healthy people.
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It’s easily one of the most common questions, as supplements transformed from a niche market into a perceived quick fix for everything from fat loss to increasing your strength. Stop taking diet pills as supplements instead following effective supplements can help you reach your health and fitness goals faster.
1.Weight Loss – Your Goal: You want to lose that spare fat, feel better about yourself, and show those skinny jeans who’s boss. – GREEN TEA EXTRACT
Fighting the battle of the bulge can often feel like a futile effort when you see those pounds creep back on just months, weeks, or mere days after you lost them. Fortunately, there is a supplement that can actually help you shed those unwanted weights and keep them from coming back: Green Tea Extract. The results reveal that supplementation with catechin-rich green tea yielded a 12 percent increase in fat oxidation over a 24-hour period. If you’re worried that the potential caffeine jitters you get from green tea will outweigh the supplement’s benefit, never fear; research suggests that green tea has plenty of fat-burning potential in both its caffeinated and decaf forms.
- More Energy – That second (or fifth) cup of coffee isn’t cutting it and you need some energy fast. – VITAMIN B12
There’s no denying we’re in an energy crisis — and we’re not just talking about oil prices. Adults are sleeping less and working longer. While you could just hand over your credit card and open up a tab at your local coffee house, taking some B12 might just help you get the energy you need without all that extra caffeine. B vitamins have long been heralded for their energizing properties, and it’s no wonder why; B vitamins help your body extract nutrients from your food, turning them into usable energy. Even better, vitamin B12, or cobalamin, can help you fend off iron deficiency anemia, a major cause of energy suppression.
3. Lower stress – Your job is stressful. Your family’s stressed. Your finances are stressful. You need some serious decompression. – MAGNESIUM
While you can’t pop a pill due to workload at an office or lighten your workload, you may still be able to find some stress relief in a bottle (and one that doesn’t contain any alcohol, at that). The results of a study found that, among a group of 264 patients, those given magnesium and plant extract supplementation reported significant improvements in their anxiety.
4. Increased brain function – Boost your brainpower and channel your inner genius. – RESVERATROL
If given the choice, who wouldn’t opt to be a few IQ points smarter, or retain their mental focus as they age? While we can’t promise that any supplement will help you figure out cold fusion, resveratrol seems like a pretty great choice when it comes to boosting your brainpower. A study by researchers reveals that resveratrol helped reduce memory loss and preserved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. Resveratrol has also been linked to reduced belly fat and reduced overall weight, which links to improvements in the brain’s metabolic rate.
5.Softer Skin – Skin so soft babies will be begging for your secrets. – ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
Forget shelling out hundreds of bucks for skin products; the right supplement could be all you need to get that soft, smooth skin you’ve always wanted. Research suggests that ALA can attract and help your body filter out free radicals that can cause skin damage, and a study found ALA effective at increasing blood flow, potentially plumping up your skin and making it appear healthier and more youthful. Get the luminous complexion you’ve always wanted today by adding the Healthy Foods That Give You Glowing Skin to your menu!
6.Fewer Wrinkles – You want to stop fine lines and wrinkles before they start and make those existing indicators of the aging process disappear. – VITAMIN C
We can’t turn back the clock, but we can make sure that the years aren’t being etched into our skin as we age. Research suggests that vitamin C may be an effective means of boosting skin’s natural collagen production and increasing the linking of fibroblasts, improving skin’s firmness and texture, too. Fortunately, Nature Made’s vitamin C supplements contain more than enough of the stuff to keep you smooth —just one pill packs as much vitamin C as you’d get in 20 oranges.
7.Better Heart Health – A healthier heart so you can stay active well into your golden years – OMEGA 3S
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more people than Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, and car accidents combined, according to WHO data. Fortunately, fighting back is easy: just add some omega-3s to your routine.
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are an effective means of improving heart health and reducing your risk of heart disease. Even if you’re already dealing with heart disease, omega-3s may still provide some relief; omega-3s reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among people with heart disease by as much as 9 percent.
8.Healthier Teeth – Getting a smile so bright your friends will have to wear shades. – FOLIC ACID
While we’d never suggest you replace regular dental check-ups with a supplement, a little folic acid in your routine may make those trips to the dentist a whole lot more pleasant. Research suggests that supplementation with folic acid can help aid healthy tissue growth in the mouth while reducing the risk of oral lesions, thrush, and gum disease.
For those who are trying to become pregnant, folic acid is particularly important; not only can it reduce the risk of spina bifida and neurological issues, it can also foster the development of healthy teeth and gums in utero.
- Lower Cholesterol – Getting your cholesterol in such good shape that your doctor high-fives you on the way out of your visit. – GARLIC
It may be less-than-ideal for your breath, but when it comes to your cholesterol, garlic can’t be beaten. Fortunately, you don’t have to risk scaring off others with your garlic breath to get those benefits; garlic pills will do the trick, too.
Research published suggests that garlic can help lower bad cholesterol, slashing your risk of heart disease and stroke along the way. And when you’re ready to get those cholesterol numbers down even further, add cholesterol-lowering Foods with Fiber to your menu.
10.Silky hair – Hair so silky and shiny you could use it as a mirror. – VITAMIN E
Those lush locks you’ve always wanted can be yours before you know it —no pricey shampoos or salon treatments required. Popping a couple of vitamin E capsules can help promote the growth of healthy scalp tissue and reduce inflammation that can lead to flaking, dryness, and dull hair.
Even better, you can break open those capsules and rub the vitamin E directly on your hair for a deep conditioning treatment that can help ward off split ends.
11.Less Acne – Skin that’s clear, calm, and bears no resemblance to the hormonal mess you were dealing with in high school. – VITAMIN B2
From hormones to sweat to environmental pollutants, there are countless factors that can keep even the most vigilant face-washers seeing spots pop up on their skin. The good news? Vitamin B2 might just be what you need to heal what ails you. A deficiency in B2 (also known as riboflavin) has been linked to breakouts, as well as redness and inflammation of the skin.
12.Improved Gut Health – A healthier gut, improved metabolism, and a stronger immune system, to boot – LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS
Hosting 70 percent of your immune system, your gut is a major control center in your body, but not everyone knows how to keep their gut bacteria happy and fruitful. Fortunately, supplementing your usual food with some lactobacillus acidophilus can help you keep your immune system, belly, and metabolism healthy by promoting better gut health.
Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacterium that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, making your body more effective at digesting your food, improving your immune health along the way as the good guys in your gut grow in number.
13.A Healthier Vegan Diet – A complement to your vegan diet that ensures you’re getting all the nutrients you need. – IRON
Yes, you can get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet, including protein, despite all the family members, significant others, and strangers on the internet who insist that’s not the case. However, a vegan diet can leave some adherents low in iron, putting them at risk for energy-sapping iron-deficiency anemia and other health issues.
The good news? A vegan-friendly iron supplement, can help boost your iron levels, your energy, and keep you feeling healthy and strong.
14.Less Depression – Some relief for those blues that have been getting you down. – VITAMIN D
That low mood may be an easier fix than you expected. Not only has vitamin D deficiency been linked to low, depressive moods, research that study subjects provided vitamin D supplements had significant improvements in their mood over just a five-day period as compared to a placebo group.
While vitamin D supplementation may help some if your depression is feeling too big for you to handle on your own, make sure you consult your doctor.
15.Better Sex – A sex life so hot you can barely drag yourself out of bed for work. – L-Arginine
The only thing that can spice your relationship up more than some lacy lingerie and a little mood music? L-arginine. A study reveals that L-arginine can help fight erectile dysfunction, and other research links it to reduced stress, helping you relax and get in the mood. And make sure you’re not killing your sex drive before you get things started by nixing the Foods That Kill Your Sex Drive from your routine.
16.Reduced Cravings – The ability to walk past a bakery window and not give those croissants a second thought. – CITRUS POLYPHENOLS
A little spritz of citrus in your water can help you fight those cravings, and adding a citrus polyphenol supplement to your routine can help you say no to those salty and sugary snacks tempting you, too.
Studies suggest that the scent of citrus can help reduce food cravings, and even if you’ve already indulged, those polyphenols may be able to reduce the impact of your less-than-perfect food choices. Research reveals that citrus polyphenols can actually help reduce the damage caused by diet-induced obesity.
17.Fewer Headaches – The ability to break free of those headaches, whether triggered by hours spent at your computer… or a bar – NIACIN
While it may be impossible to eliminate headache triggers entirely, you can head them off at the pass by adding some niacin to your routine. Niacin can help dilate blood vessels, reducing your headache symptoms along the way.
18.Better Eyesight – Clearer vision and a reduced risk of macular degeneration as you age – BEAT-CAROTENE
Keep those peepers clear and bright by adding a vitamin A supplement today. Beta-carotene is not only an effective means of lowering blood pressure, thus lowering your risk of cataracts, but the 2001 Age-Related Eye Disease Study also found beta-carotene effective at slowing the rate of age-related macular degeneration, so don’t bust out those bifocals just yet.
19.Improved Fertility – An easier time conceiving so you can start on the road to parenthood stat. – SELENIUM
Having kids can be stressful, but making them shouldn’t be. To improve your chances of conceiving, try adding some selenium to your supplement round-up. Researchers found that selenium supplementation increased sperm motility in more than 52.6 percent of study subjects with fertility issues.
20.Better Sleep – A better night’s rest so you feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to face the day – MELATONIN
Sleep is relaxing, it’s energizing, it’s great for your metabolism, but every year, the amount of sleep the average adult gets is waning. Before you go to your doctor for a prescription pill, head to your local pharmacy, and grab some melatonin instead.
Multiple studies confirm melatonin’s effectiveness at increasing sleep quality and duration, so if you’re finding yourself tossing and turning at night, it’s high time you pick up a bottle.
Click here for Top Supplements
An abundance of pre-packaged convenience foods, hours spent on devices such as computers and cell phones, more time sitting, and less time spent outside. Our modern, on-the-go lifestyle often includes fast food, less sleep, more stress, and abundant amounts of coffee. Most of us need a little help.
The 21st century has brought with it some unique health challenges. Stay healthy in the modern world with these supplement strategies, designed with millennials in mind.
Even healthy diets contain nutrient gaps. Thankfully, you can count on a daily multivitamin to help fill in those gaps and provide your body with some valuable nutritional insurance. Gender and age-specific formulas make the right multivitamin choice for your specific needs even easier.
2) Fish Oil
If oily/fatty fish like salmon and anchovies are not a part of your regular diet at least twice a week, then it may be worthwhile to supplement with fish oil—a source of the heart-healthy EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA also help support flexible cell membranes.
3) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble nutrient that supports bone, teeth, muscle, and immune health. However, due to the limited food sources rich in vitamin D, over 80% of people fail to meet their daily intake needs for vitamin D, making it a “nutrient of public health concern”.* A simple blood test can help you determine what your vitamin D level is and whether a supplement would be beneficial. At the next appointment with your health care professional, be sure to discuss your current vitamin D level and supplement needs.
Your bones contain 99% of your body’s calcium, and meeting the recommended level of calcium intake daily is important for bone health––now and as you age. Milk, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, and cheese are great sources of calcium, and approximately three servings a day are needed for you to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (1,000 mg to 1,200 mg for adults). This can be challenging for many individuals; therefore, a calcium supplement can help fill in this key nutrient gap.
Probiotics are live bacteria that help support a healthy digestive system, which is important to overall health. They are often referred to as “good” or “beneficial” bacteria based on their beneficial activity in the body. They naturally exist in cultured or fermented foods such as yogurt and certain cheeses. Dietary supplements containing live probiotics are a way to help support regularity and healthy digestive balance.
6) Vitamin C
Sixty percent of adult men don’t get enough vitamin C in their diets, according to a Clinical Nutrition study. Vitamin C helps protect your cells from the tissue-damaging free radicals produced by exercise. It also helps heal wounds, and it’s key to the production of the collagen found in ligaments and tendons.
7) Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is the most bio-available form (most readily available for absorption in the body). The sun’s rays, when absorbed by the skin, convert to D3 in the body; however many countries do not get enough sun year-round. Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin D3 supplements – more than 800 IU/day – can have great benefits.
8) Coenzyme Q10
CoQ10 is well-known as an inflammation fighter. Inflammation is often the root cause of excess pounds, arthritis, headaches, and heart disease. Daily doses of 100 mcg of CoQ10 have been shown to improve many of these conditions – but be sure to choose a soft gel over the powder capsule.
9) Eye-Health Anti Oxidants
Consider this: the average American now stares at screens for a total of 10 hours per day. Computers and cellphones have brought us the world at our fingertips and allow us to communicate like never before.
However, our electronic devices also emit blue light, which causes free radical damage and, over time, may cause serious damage to the eyes. Protect your peepers with antioxidant supplements designed for eye health.
One of the best: Ocuguard Blutein Protection contains lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, and fucoxanthin, derived from kelp; these eye-specific antioxidants have been shown to fight free radicals, absorb blue-green light, and protect the eyes from damage.
Nutrient-dense mushroom formulas are great to take daily for energy, immune health, and mental stamina. Two standouts for millennials: Lion’s mane, particularly amyloban, one of the mushroom’s active ingredients, has been shown to support memory, mental focus, concentration, and brain nerve cell health.
Cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom rich in health-boosting polysaccharides, has been used as an effective energy booster in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Japanese researchers at the University of Fukui reported that cordyceps contains anti-fatigue properties.
Anxiety and depression are more prevalent in our modern-day society. The American Psychological Association reports that 12 percent of millennials have an anxiety disorder, and 19 percent have been diagnosed with depression. And between work, money, and job stability, Gen-Xers have their fair share of stress too.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in green and black tea, has a measurable calming effect on the brain, increasing the body’s production of GABA and dopamine, neurotransmitters that induce feelings of well-being.
Other stress-busting supplements to consider: Tulsi, also called holy basil, reduces stress and anxiety; magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and can reduce stress and improve sleep, and passionflower has been shown to effectively treat nervousness and anxiety.
Potassium can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease, and counteract the effects of too much sodium. It’s found in bananas, raisins, leafy greens, oranges, milk, and more.
Bottom line: Consider a supplement if you’re taking potassium-depleting diuretics for a heart condition, or if you’re African American, a group that’s at higher risk for hypertension and heart disease. Keep in mind that too much potassium can be harmful to older people and people with kidney disease.
13) Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that plays a role in protecting cells from free radicals, strengthens your immune system, and can help slow macular degeneration. It’s found in foods like wheat germ and sunflower seeds.
Once upon a time, researchers thought this antioxidant could protect the heart, but newer research hasn’t found that it can prevent cancer or lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. And too much vitamin E through supplements can increase the risk of bleeding in the brain.
Forget the supplements and get E your vitamin E from food (oils like safflower, peanuts, eggs, fortified cereals, fruits, and green, leafy vegetables).
14) Take a pass on Plastic
Plastic is ubiquitous in the modern world. It encases nearly everything we consume, from water bottles to convenience foods. What’s alarming is that these plastics contain phthalates, chemicals that leach out into our water and food.
These phthalates mimic estrogens, which can cause hormone imbalances in the body. They can affect reproductive organs and hormones, especially in prepubescent males. Some have been linked to breast and other cancers, allergies, obesity, thyroid, and other hormonal disruptions.
Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production and metabolism, among other important functions. Aside from avoiding bottled water and making sure not to microwave or store foods in plastic containers, help to flush phthalates out of the body by taking glutathione.
Glutathione is known to aid in the metabolism and detoxification of endocrine-disrupting compounds. Also be sure to assist your body in detoxifying these chemicals by eating a lot of organic cruciferous vegetables, and sweat out toxins with exercise and/or a session in a sauna.
15) Vegan Protein Powder – 1 Scoop per day – To round out your daily dose of supplements, a heaping scoop of Vega (or another vegan protein powder) to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet. Any brand that packs 20 to 25 grams of plant-based protein is ideal, so you can enjoy this extra boost in a post-workout cookie, your morning smoothie, or these bliss bites.
Support your health by enjoying the benefits of essential nutrition from vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Consult with your health care professional to learn how these top supplements can support overall health.
Click here for Best Supplements for Women –
Is your day to day schedule getting tiresome? Feel tired on a day you have barely done anything? This could mean that your body is not getting its required amount of vitamins from your daily diet.
While a balanced diet is certainly the best way to nourish your body, popping those colorful pills can also help make you feel fresh and energized. Dietary supplements provide your body with the requisite nutrients and minerals in the form of vitamin pills and capsules.
Dietary supplements can never replace a normal diet. They must be taken with your regular diet to boost health, replenish lost nutrients in the system and boost the overall fitness of the body.
It takes at least fifteen days before the effects of a dietary supplement manifest themselves, so the course has to be followed strictly if you are to derive any benefit from a diet supplement. Listed below are the best vitamins and minerals supplements available in the market today that claim to boost immunity, improve body metabolism, and give you overall fitness.
It is advisable to consult a nutritionist or your general physician to pick the right supplement for you.
Supplement your diet – Women of every age, height, weight, and activity level have at least one thing in common: We need certain nutrients that our bodies don’t make but require to function properly.
Most experts agree the best source of essential nutrients is whole food: We get a wide variety of nutrients from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, often in perfect proportions, We rarely over or under-do it.
That being said, it’s difficult to know with 100 percent certainty that we’re getting precisely enough nutrients to fend off symptoms of deficiency and related illnesses. Stage cue, supplements! Taking specific supplements is like an insurance for those instances when you accidentally consume your weight’s worth of sweets and call it dinner.
And if you have or are at risk for a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, as may be the case for pregnant women or vegetarians, then your doctor may need to intervene by recommending a supplement.
Your choice to take a supplement depends on your diet and doctor’s recommendation. “When considering supplements, women need to think bones, babies, and bellies, Sufficient bone density is needed to prevent osteoporosis, an adequate store of folate is essential for fertility and fetal development, and a healthy waistline lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases.
Women must also load up on the nutrients that are essential to prevent chronic diseases in the future.” We recommend the best supplements for women. Show the list to your doctor to determine which supplements are right for you.
Iron – What it does
Carries oxygen in the body; aids in the production of red blood cells; supports immune function, cognitive development, and temperature regulation; is essential for proper cell growth.
Why you need it
Slacking on your iron intake causes your body to reduce the production of red blood cells, causing anemia. This can lead to unrelenting fatigue and shortness of breath while doing activities that aren’t very strenuous, as well as difficulty maintaining body temperature and decreased immune function, which increases susceptibility to infection.
What’s more, blood loss during your period depletes your body’s iron stores, so it’s particularly important for women with heavy periods to eat iron-rich foods or take supplements.
Where to find it
Lean red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, cereals, beans, whole grains, and dark-green leafy vegetables.
CALCIUM – What it does
Makes and keeps bones and teeth strong; helps muscles and blood vessels contract and expand; secretes hormones, and sends messages through the nervous system.
Why you need it
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Thus, calcium consumption is important for aging adults, particularly postmenopausal women whose bone breakdown exceeds formation, resulting in bone loss and increased risk of osteoporosis over time.
“Women start losing bone density in their twenties,” says nutrition professor. “Calcium is your single best defense, and you should start taking it now.”
Where to find it
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, and dark-green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale.
MAGNESIUM – What it does
Maintains normal muscle and nerve function; keeps heart rhythm steady; supports a healthy immune system; keeps bones strong; helps regulate blood sugar levels; promotes normal blood pressure; may play a role in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes; and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
Why you need it
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, but there are other reasons you won’t want to run low on it, including deficiency symptoms such as chronic or excessive vomiting and diarrhea, and migraines.
“Blood vessels in your brain constrict, and receptors in the feel-good chemical serotonin malfunction. If you suffer from Crohn’s disease or another gastrointestinal disorder that makes it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients, you may be at risk for magnesium deficiency.
Where to find it
Green vegetables (like okra), some beans, nuts, seeds, and unrefined whole grains.
BIOTIN – What it does
Aids in the formation of fatty acids and blood sugar, which are used in the production of energy for the body; and helps metabolize amino acids and carbohydrates.
Why you need it
While a lack of biotin is rare, getting sufficient amounts staves off signs of deficiency including hair loss, brittle nails, and a scaly, red facial rash. Luckily, you can alleviate these symptoms by boosting your biotin intake, which also helps neurological symptoms, such as mild depression, in adults.
Where to find it
Cauliflower, liver, avocado, and raspberries.
OTHER B VITAMINS – What it does
Help the body to convert food into fuel for energy; contribute to healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and proper nervous system functioning; maintain metabolism, muscle tone, and a sharp mind.
Why you need it
Deficiency of certain B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, can cause a host of awful symptoms:
It can cause anemia, tiredness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, muscle cramps, respiratory infections, hair loss, eczema, poor growth in children, and birth defects. You don’t want that.
Where to find it
Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, legumes, many bowls of cereal, and some bread.
VITAMIN C – What it does
Facilitates normal growth and development and repairs bodily tissues, bones, and teeth; helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels; and functions as an antioxidant to block some of the damage caused by free radicals.
Why you need it
Vitamin C’s healing and antioxidant powers make it essential. Signs of vitamin deficiency include dry and splitting hair; gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bleeding gums; rough, dry, scaly skin; decreased wound-healing rate; easy bruising; nosebleeds; and a decreased ability to fight infection.
A severe form of vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy. Despite its rep as a cold fighter, C has never been proven to prevent or cure the sniffles, but the antioxidant is believed to boost your immune system.
It is also often used as an ingredient in skincare products since vitamin C can boost your body’s collagen production to help reduce wrinkles and can also firm up and moisturize your skin.
Where to find it
All fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, red pepper, and broccoli. The synthetic variety is known as ascorbic acid.
VITAMIN D – What it does
Promotes calcium absorption necessary for bone growth; modulation of cell growth; neuromuscular and immune function; and reduction of inflammation.
Why you need it
Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen, leading to osteomalacia, or a softening of the bones, which can weaken muscles, too. Vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to play a role in the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In good news though, evidence suggests that vitamin D may provide some protection against colorectal and possibly other cancers.
Where to find it
The flesh of fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, and fish liver oils, with small amounts in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks; and vitamin-D-fortified milk and orange juice.
Note: While vitamin D occurs naturally in very few foods, most people actually meet at least some of their vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight.
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT – What it does
Treats health problems related to free radical damage, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Why you need it
Stay young from the inside out! Preliminary animal research has shown that it may protect brains in ways that fight against future age-related dementia, as well as decrease the development of skin cancer due to UVB radiation exposure.
In pill form, it also helps maintain collagen and elastin, two building blocks of smooth skin.
Where to find it
Capsules, tablets, and liquid form.
FLAX SEED – What it does
Used as a laxative; helps reduce total blood cholesterol.
Why you need it
Flaxseed is said to lower cholesterol levels, boost the immune system, and protect against cancers, including breast cancer. Note that flaxseed oil contains only omega-3 fatty acids and not the additional fiber or lignans available through the seed, but its health benefits are undeniable, so make sure you are getting enough.
Where to find it
Click here for Herbal Supplements
Echinacea to prevent colds. Ginkgo to improve memory. Flaxseed to lower cholesterol. The list of herbal remedies goes on and on. Herbal supplements, sometimes called botanicals, are one type of dietary supplement available for purchase.
Herbal supplements aren’t new — plants have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. But herbal supplements generally haven’t been subjected to the same scientific scrutiny and aren’t as strictly regulated as medications.
For example, although makers of herbal supplements must follow good manufacturing practices — to ensure that supplements are processed consistently and meet quality standards — they don’t have to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before putting their products on the market.
Yet all herbs — including herbal supplement products labeled as “natural” — can have medication-like effects. Anything strong enough to produce a positive effect, such as lowered cholesterol or improved mood, is also strong enough to carry risk.
So it’s important to investigate the potential benefits and side effects of herbal supplements before you buy them. And be sure to talk with your doctor, especially if you take medications, have chronic health problems, or are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Are herbal supplements safe?
Herbal supplements are regulated by the FDA, but not as drugs or as foods. They fall under a category called dietary supplements. The rules for dietary supplements are as follows:
- Manufacturers don’t have to seek FDA approval before selling dietary supplements.
- Companies can claim that products address a nutrient deficiency, support health or are linked to body functions — if they have supporting research and they include a disclaimer that the FDA hasn’t evaluated the claim.
- Companies aren’t allowed to make a specific medical claim. An example of a specific medical claim might be, “This herb reduces the frequency of urination due to an enlarged prostate.”
- Manufacturers must follow good manufacturing practices to ensure that supplements are processed consistently and meet quality standards. These regulations are intended to keep the wrong ingredients and contaminants out of supplements, as well as make sure that the right ingredients are included in appropriate amounts.
- The FDA is responsible for monitoring dietary supplements that are on the market. If the FDA finds a product to be unsafe, it can take action against the manufacturer or distributor or both, and may issue a warning or require that the product be removed from the market.
These regulations provide assurance that:
- Herbal supplements meet certain quality standards
- The FDA can intervene to remove dangerous products from the market
However, the rules don’t guarantee that herbal supplements are safe for anyone to use.
These products can pose unexpected risks because many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong effects on the body. For example, taking a combination of herbal supplements or using supplements together with prescribed medications could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results.
It’s important to talk with your doctor before using herbal supplements.
How do you know what’s in herbal supplements?
The FDA requires that the labels of all herbal supplements include this information:
- The name of the herbal supplement
- The name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
- A complete list of ingredients — either in the Supplement Facts panel or listed beneath it
- Serving size, amount, and active ingredient
If you don’t understand something on a supplement’s label, ask your doctor or pharmacist for an explanation.
An easy way to compare ingredients in products is to use the Dietary Supplement Label Database, which is available on the National Institute of Health’s website. The database has information on the ingredients for thousands of dietary supplements sold in the United States. You can look up products by brand name, uses, active ingredient, or manufacturer.
How do you know if herbal supplements’ claims are true?
Manufacturers of herbal supplements are responsible for ensuring that the claims they make about their products aren’t false or misleading and that they’re backed up by adequate evidence. But they aren’t required to submit this evidence to the FDA.
So be a smart consumer. Don’t just rely on a product’s marketing. Look for objective, research-based information to evaluate a product’s claims.
To get reliable information about a particular supplement:
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist. Even if they don’t know about a specific supplement, they may be able to point you to the latest medical guidance about its uses and risks.
- Look for scientific research findings. Two good sources are the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the Office of Dietary Supplements. Both have websites that provide information to help consumers make informed choices about dietary supplements.
- Contact the manufacturer. If you have questions about a specific product, call the manufacturer or distributor. Ask to talk with someone who can answer questions, such as what data the company has to substantiate its products’ claims.
Who shouldn’t use herbal supplements?
If you have health issues, it’s essential that you talk with your doctor before trying herbal supplements. In fact, in some high-risk situations, your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid herbal supplements altogether.
It’s especially important that you talk to your doctor before using herbal supplements if:
- You’re taking prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some herbs can cause serious side effects when mixed with prescription and OTC medications, such as aspirin, blood thinners, or blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor about possible interactions.
- You’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Medications that may be safe for you as an adult may be harmful to your fetus or your breast-feeding infant. As a general rule, don’t take any medications — prescription, OTC, or herbal — when you’re pregnant or breast-feeding unless your doctor approves.
- You’re having surgery. Many herbal supplements can affect the success of the surgery. Some may decrease the effectiveness of anesthetics or cause dangerous complications, such as bleeding or high blood pressure. Tell your doctor about any herbs you’re taking or considering taking as soon as you know you need surgery.
- You’re younger than 18 or older than 65. Few herbal supplements have been tested on children or have established safe doses for children. And older adults may metabolize medications differently.
Safety tips for using herbal supplements
If you’ve done your homework and plan to try an herbal supplement, play it safe with these tips:
- Follow supplement instructions. Don’t exceed recommended dosages or take the herb for longer than recommended.
- Keep track of what you take. Take only one supplement at a time to determine if it’s effective. Make a note of what you take — and how much for how long — and how it affects you. Stop taking the supplement if it isn’t effective or doesn’t meet your goals for taking it.
- Choose your brand wisely. Stick to brands that have been tested by independent sources and having FDA certification.
- Check alerts and advisories. The FDA maintains lists of supplements that are under regulatory review or that have been reported to cause adverse effects. Check the FDA website periodically for updates.
Click here for Beware before buying ( Caveat Emptor )
We are proposing a conservative, evidence-based approach to evaluating supplements. It’s sound advice, but it’s often hard to balance sober scientific judgments against simple, forceful claims for health in a pill. In the final analysis, the decision is yours, so we’d like to offer a few additional cautions:
- Beware of extravagant claims; if it sounds too good to be true, it is usually not true.
- Beware of testimonials and endorsements, especially from celebrities. Even the most sincere, well-meaning success stories offered by friends and relatives without financial incentives can’t establish a product’s safety or efficacy.
- Beware of the idea that if a little is good, more is better. Although vitamin A is essential for health, for example, doses that exceed the RDA (3,000 IU a day for men, 2,330 IU for women) increase the risk of fractures. And as noted above, a high intake of folic acid may increase the risk of certain tumors.
- Beware of meaningless terms. The list includes all-natural, antioxidant-rich, clinically proven, anti-aging, and other vague but seductive claims that a product will promote heart health, prostate health, sexual prowess, energy, weight loss, fat loss, muscle power, and the like.
- Beware of interactions between supplements and medications. Always tell your doctors and pharmacists about any supplements you take and ask specifically about potential interactions with your prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Beware of adulterated products. The FDA has withdrawn over 140 products that were laced with undisclosed pharmaceutical ingredients. Perhaps the most shameful example was PC-SPES, a supplement that was heavily promoted to treat prostate cancer. PC-SPES is long gone, but other advertised supplements are still at large. Products touted for sexual performance, weight loss, and athletic performance are the most likely to be contaminated with medications.
- Beware of products that contain less — or more — than they claim. Since you won’t have the protection of FDA oversight, it’s hard for you to know what you’re actually getting. In general, products that are voluntarily submitted for approval by private organizations like the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International are your best bet.
Supplements, not substitutes –
Until (or unless) better oversight is available, supplements are likely to remain the Wild West of American health. At present, only a few are likely to help, some may do more harm than good, and most will be little more than expensive disappointments. But false hopes can be toxic in their own right if they keep you from taking good care of yourself or getting the medical care you need. So even if you take supplements, be sure to eat well, exercise regularly, and work with your doctor to keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar under good control. And while you’re seeing your doctor for check-ups, screening tests, and treatments, be sure to tell him about all your supplements. Many men are reluctant to tell physicians that they use alternative or complementary therapies, but full disclosure is important for health, particularly since supplements can have adverse interactions with medications.
Myths about Supplements
Every day we’re bombarded by information about healthy eating and nutrition from friends, family, the media, and web sites. But when it comes to nutrition, misinformation is everywhere. It’s important to separate fact from fiction.
The following points set the record straight on common myths about vitamins and supplements.
Myth #1 – Dietary supplements aren’t regulated: Dietary supplements live in the middle ground between conventional foods and drugs. This special niche is subject to a set of strict and detailed regulations, the government agency is responsible for protecting the public’s health. Dietary supplement manufacturers are required, by law, to make sure their products are safe, meet specific quality standards, and are labeled accurately.
Myth #2 – Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements are ‘Magic Bullets’ for good health: If only there were a few pills we could take to prevent all diseases and guarantee good health for a lifetime! While a lovely dream, the reality is that wellness requires a multi-prong approach over time. Vitamins, minerals, and supplements may provide important benefits for certain people, but, taken alone, don’t guarantee good health.
Myth #3- Everyone can get the nutrients they need from diet alone: Experts state the best way to get the nutrients we need is through food, but it’s not always possible to accomplish this – even with planning, patience, and knowledge about micronutrients. That’s why millions of people rely on vitamins and supplements to obtain the nutrients they might be missing from their meals.
Myth #4 – All Multivitamins are the same: There’s no legal definition for “multivitamins.” Manufacturers apply the term to any product supplying two or more vitamins (minerals, phytochemicals, and herbs too). Nearly 70 percent are “one-a-day” types; 16 percent, B-complex blends; and 14 percent, “antioxidant” mixes. Products in the same group (e.g., B-complex) varied wildly; many provided megadoses of some nutrients. Read labels to find a “multi” that doesn’t exceed 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for any nutrients.
Myth #5 – What’s listed on the label is what’s really in the product: Supplement manufacturers must list each ingredient (and its quantity) in a product, but they don’t have to prove the accuracy of these lists. Limited in resources, the FDA doesn’t check that what’s inside a product jibes with what’s on its label, either. Often labels don’t match contents: 30 percent of “multivitamins” tested by an independent nutrition product testing service and consumer watchdog group, was “off” for at least one ingredient. Some delivered doses well below those listed on the label; one was tainted with potentially dangerous levels of lead. Buy products with a certified seal-such as the USP seal or certification from an established brand.
Myth #6 – Calcium is calcium: Vitamins and minerals occur in different forms-all of which may not function equally. A 2005 study showed that an orange juice fortified with calcium citrate malate was absorbed 48 percent better than one fortified with the same amount of calcium in a different form. Manufacturers don’t have to prove that the nutrients they add to foods are actually absorbed. A dietitian can help you pick products likely to be well absorbed.
Myth #7 – Structure / Function claims are backed by solid science: Structure/function claims (e.g., “Zinc helps maintain immunity”) describe what an ingredient is intended to do in the body. Often, the research behind the claim has no scientific consensus. “Claim-featured” nutrients sometimes are included purely for marketing. Watch out for “buzz word” nutrients and claims that appear too good to be true.
Myth #8 – “Studies have shown.” This means that clinical research conclusively showed whatever statements follows: Most studies that “show” a vitamin/mineral supplement provides a health benefit are observational ones, which survey people about various behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise, supplement use), then use statistical analyses to id Surveys show that supplement users tend to practice other healthy habits, too-eating lots of vegetables, shunning cigarettes and exercising regularly so it’s hard to tease out a single protective factor. Identify links with disease. Supplement makers don’t have to say how scientifically-conclusive their studies are.
Myth #9 – The Food and Drug Administration approves all Dietary supplements: Supplements do not need to be proven safe by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, the FDA’s role takes place after the supplement is on the market. Dietary supplement companies are required to report adverse events to the FDA, and then the FDA may take action. There are examples of supplements, which were taken off the market after serious adverse events were reported.
Myth #10 – Most people need to take supplements: Most adults can get all their needs through a well-balanced, healthy diet, full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. However, in cases of deficiency that cannot be solved through food alone, taking the specific vitamins and minerals in which you’re deficient can help fill the gaps. If you are deficient in a vitamin or mineral, you may need to add supplements. However, if you are in normal ranges, there is no need to spend money on supplements.
Myth #11 – More supplementation is always better: With supplements, the adage “too much of a good thing” applies. Toxicity can occur with water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals. How much you need of any given vitamin or mineral should be determined by your health care provider. Typically, patients don’t require taking any more than the recommended daily amount of that nutrient.
Myth #12 – Supplements never interact with drugs: There are some supplements, especially herbal supplements, that can interfere with medications, making your medications more or less effective, that taking some medications and supplements together could cause unwanted side effects. However comprehensive drug interaction information does not exist for all supplements.
Myth #13 – Supplements always contain what their labels say: A supplement can claim it contains 100 percent of your RDA needs, but in fact, it can contain as little as 10 percent when choosing supplements, you opt for ones that have undergone third-party testing. Finding supplements that are third-party tested is doable, but it can prove challenging.
Myth #14 – Supplements always do what they say they do: Supplements can improve health in those with deficiencies, but not every available supplement carries the benefits it claims. Currently, dietary supplements cannot lawfully claim to treat or prevent a disease, according to the FDA. However, some supplement companies skirt the line of what is allowed.