Tips for Choosing the Right Health Supplements
Food is and will always be the best source of nutrients for your body. But if you think your diet isn’t enough, supplements can fill the gap. If you’re uncertain about the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re getting, your doctor or a registered dietitian can clear things up.
Understanding Your Needs
Various factors affect your nutritional needs, like your medical background, your age, your lifestyle, medical conditions you’re likely to get, and so on. If you’re at risk for osteoporosis, for example, your physician may have you take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Or if you’re a woman planning a pregnancy, you have to take folic acid to helps prevent certain birth defects.
Updating Your Doctor
Be sure your doctor is informed as to what supplements you’re taking, especially if you’re medicating for a certain medical condition. Sometimes, they will interact and be harmful together. Or you just want to make sure you can maximize your benefits from them (magnesium and calcium, for example, will compete for absorption, you need to take them apart). Another common piece of advice from doctors when it comes to prescribing health supplements has something to do with taking certain vitamins with or without food.
Additionally, they can tell you what dose is right for you, depending on certain factors like age, gender, and present health status (say, you are deficient in a certain nutrient).
As a wise shopper, your first step is always to do your homework. Check what each supplement does, along with its risks and benefits. People usually like to grab stuff off the shelf simply because someone they know suggested it or they probably saw it on TV. If you’re unsure, consult your doctor. And if you find something that seems too good to be true, but just ask.
com or the U.S.Pharmacopeia. These are independent organizations that assess health supplements and see whether their lists of ingredients are correct and if the products’ quality meets their standards. But they don’t determine whether or not these products have side effects.
And finally, just before purchasing any product, consider four essential points. One, what benefits do you get? Two, what are the risks involved? Three, how much of it should you take? And fourth, how long must you keep taking it? For any questions, you can call the manufacturer. It they don’t have a toll-free number (you can often find this on the label), that could be a red flag. Reputable health supplement makers always do.