Pros And Cons Of Supplements

Pros And Cons Of Supplements

It seems like there are supplements for everything from building muscles to improving your memory. Are these supplements any good and are there dangers to taking supplements? There are both pros and cons when it comes to any kind of product, whether it’s natural or not. You can get too much of a good thing, then it ceases to be good and starts having side effects. However, one of the biggest negatives of taking supplements is that people often mistakenly think they’re all that’s needed, and they don’t have to have a healthy diet as long as they take the supplements.

What is a dietary supplement?

The definition for a dietary supplement is any product that’s not tobacco, which contains a mineral, vitamin, herb, amino acid, dietary substance, or herb that’s taken to increase the daily intake of certain nutrients. Whether it’s a pill, powder or power bar, it boosts nutrients in your diet that you might be missing for a number of reasons. It may be poor absorption, lack of appetite or a poor diet. In most cases, it’s due to poor choices of food.

Pros of supplements.

Today’s supplement market is far more extensive than ever. You don’t just have the traditional vitamin and mineral tablets, there are whole food products and capsules that contain dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D supplements are often beneficial, especially in colder climates where it’s impossible to get all the vitamin D from the sun and takes delicate meal planning to get it from diet. Folic acid is important for women of childbearing age to help prevent birth defects. For seniors and pregnant or lactating women, nutritional supplements may also be important.

The other side of the supplement coin.

Some of the biggest abusers of supplements are bodybuilders. The supplements they abuse all have to do with protein. You’ll often see a wall of shelves containing these protein supplements in health food and nutrition stores. So, what’s the problem? You can get too much and it’s unhealthy. While the creatine may add bulk, too much of it can cause side effects, which range from diarrhea, dehydration and cramps to heart and kidney problems. It’s far better simply to consume a healthy diet than risk ruining your health.

  • Some supplements are beneficial, but you have to have the right form. Not all forms of vitamins and minerals are bioavailable. Bioavailability means the body can absorb them. If a product isn’t bioavailable, it’s flushed out of your body via urine or feces.
  • Unless you’re taking a whole food supplement, you may be missing the phytochemicals, and the synergistic relationship between nutrients in food that increases the benefits it offers.
  • You can overdose on supplements. If you take too much vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is flushed out of your body when you urinate, but it can cause digestive issues. However, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, can accumulate in your body to dangerous levels, causing harm.
  • There can be a place for supplements in your life but take them sparingly or if you have a problem getting all the nutrients you need from food. It’s always better to get your nutrition from a healthy diet and far more satisfying.

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Are Multivitamins Useful?

Are Multivitamins Useful?

There’s a lot of variety of multivitamins on the shelves of pharmacies, so you might think they’re the most useful health benefit available. That isn’t exactly true. If you’re in the grocery pharmacy, the produce section is actually more beneficial for your health. Madison Avenue has done a good job convincing America that they need to take vitamins daily, but so did the covid-19 scare. In 2020, the multivitamin market in America grew dramatically with children’s vitamin’s increasing 37.2% for $306 million in sales, men’s up 33.7% for $229 million in sales and women’s vitamins up 19.6% for $474 million.

Recent studies have changed old beliefs.

A widespread recent study of 450,000 people showed that multivitamins didn’t reduce the risk of cancer or heart disease. Another study of almost 6,000 men that lasted 12 years showed it didn’t reduce the risk of mental decline in seniors, contrary to an earlier study that said it did. While there are some benefits for taking specific supplements, that’s not necessarily true for multivitamins. One study, however, did find that multivitamins may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

More isn’t necessarily better.

More recent studies also found that taking high doses of vitamin E and beta-carotene at high doses may be harmful. If you’re taking water-soluble vitamins, your body flushes excess out in the urine and feces. The biggest problem from consuming too much of a water-soluble vitamin is digestive issues. However, fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D and E, are stored in the body, which can lead to overdoses.

There’s a better way to get your vitamins than taking a multivitamin.

Taking a specific vitamin and mineral supplements is quite different from taking a multivitamin. For instance, women that are considering pregnancy or who are in early pregnancy should supplement with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. People in northern areas in the winter would do well to supplement with vitamin D if their diet doesn’t contain enough. Also, supplemental iron can be beneficial. If a person is deficient in a specific vitamin or has problems with absorption, it also is a good idea to take it. Most of all, eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure adequate dietary needs are met.

  • Too much vitamin A can cause liver damage, interrupt calcium storage and cause calcium to build in the kidneys, damaging them. It also can contribute to lung cancer in smokers, but ironically may help those with COPD.
  • In order to get the benefits of multivitamins, they need to be absorbed and the right form of the nutrient. The binders used and type of nutrient needs to be natural and not in tablet form, which normally means they’re very expensive.
  • The most common problem, even for the far more expensive multivitamins, is an insufficient dose to make a difference or an excess dose that can cause problems. Most problems come from an insufficient dose.
  • Many multivitamins contain filler or are made from non-organic materials, such as ascorbic acid—vitamin C—which is made from GM corn. There are artificial flavors and colors added, plus heavy metals and chemicals.

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Can Vitamin B6 Help Reduce Anxiety?

Can Vitamin B6 Help Reduce Anxiety?

All people feel anxiety at one time or another. Sometimes, it can occur for no apparent reason. It may be mild enough that it’s bothersome, but short term does not really change life significantly. For a small group of people, anxiety can be significant. Recent studies show that exercise can help relieve the problem when paired with professional help and the latest studies show that Vitamin B6 may play a role in reducing the level of anxiety. Just like exercise, it may also be an important ancillary treatment for depression as well.

Anxiety is relatively common, but short-lived in many people.

Anxiety and mood disorders include everything from panic disorders to social anxiety. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand, so treatments for one often help the other. According to NIMH—-The National Institute of Mental Heath—approximately 31% of adults in the United States have experienced one type of anxiety disorder at some time in their life. Traditional treatment includes therapy and some ancillary therapy ranging from prescription drugs, exercise or home treatment with herbs like valerian. Now vitamin B6 and to a smaller extent, vitamin B12, may be added to that list.

The study was smaller but may be significant.

A study published July 19, 2022, in Human Psychopharmacology considered how taking higher doses of vitamin B6 and B12 affected anxiety and depression. It followed 478 young adults and used self-reporting techniques and MFQ and SCAARED tests that screen for anxiety, before and after the study, to learn the results. The blind study divided the participants into three groups. Those who took vitamin B6, those who took a placebo and those who took B12. Not only did they find that B6 reduces anxiety, based on those reports it also helped with depression levels. They found similar results from B12, but to a lesser degree. Other tests were also administered to study the One downfall of the study was that there were no baseline measures of B6 and B12 taken before the study.

B6 and B12 affect the neurotransmitters that calm the nervous system.

The brain has a delicate balance of neurons that excite and inhibit information. When the balance is off, the results are linked to autism, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. B6 is involved with pathways that reduce neural excitation, which can help relieve anxiety. There are a number of reasons that B6 and B12 deficiencies can occur. Oral contraceptives can deplete vitamins, which include B6 and B12. Poor diets, poor absorption of the nutrients which can be caused by IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis or celiac and alcohol consumption can affect these levels as well.

  • Controlling issues that affect vitamin B6 deficiency is one way to help prevent anxiety. Vitamin B6 can also be used in conjunction with both exercise and therapy to treat anxiety.
  • While the study used supplements that contained 100 milligrams of B6 for those taking B6 and 1,000 micrograms of B12 for that group, far higher than the daily allowance, eating healthy is a better option.
  • Healthy eating not only provides vitamin B6 and 12 it also combines those nutrients with other phytonutrients, vitamins, fiber and minerals to work in synergy, which often makes the effects of all nutrients more potent.
  • Foods high in vitamin B6 include sweet potatoes, spinach, chickpeas, bananas, nuts, potatoes, winter squash, onions, watermelon, raisins and sunflower seeds. Meat sources include beef, tuna, salmon, turkey and chicken.

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