Most Supplements Are a Waste of Money: Which Vitamins Really Benefit
The nation's leading nutrition experts believe that healthy adults should prioritize a balanced diet over supplements. Nutritionists recommend that people consult a doctor before taking any nutritional supplements, as excessive consumption of them can lead to serious complications. The edition told in more detail Yahoo!.
Although some supplements may be helpful depending on your needs.
Below is a summary of which nutritional supplements healthy adults should avoid and which they may consider under certain circumstances. The data is based on interviews with nutritionists and physicians, as well as reviews of the latest research on dietary supplements.
- Retinoids (vitamin A). Dermatologists say that retinoids can increase skin cell turnover and reduce acne when applied topically rather than orally.
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12). Vegetarians and vegans may not get enough of this nutrient because it is found in animal products.
- Creatine is a scientifically proven protein supplement that can help strength trainers build muscle.
- Melatonin. Studies have found no negative health effects for adults taking melatonin.
- Beta-carotene (vitamin A). Experts do not recommend taking vitamin A supplements because the harms caused by toxicity outweigh the potential benefits.
- Biotin (vitamin B7). Dermatologists say studies have found no link between biotin supplements and skin, nail, and hair health.
- Vitamin C. Most Americans get enough vitamin C from food.
- Vitamin D: Recent studies have not found that vitamin D supplements prevent bone fractures, heart disease, or stroke.
- Vitamin E: Experts say there is no benefit from vitamin E supplements in preventing disease, and most Americans get enough vitamin E from their diet.
- Iron. Taking too much iron can cause permanent damage to the liver and brain.
- Calcium. Excess calcium intake from dietary supplements is associated with an increased risk of cancer, but excess dietary intake is not.
- Zinc. Studies have not found the benefit of zinc supplements in preventing the common cold, but they do have some benefit in reducing the duration of symptoms when taken with vitamin C.
- BCAAs are another form of protein already found in eggs, yogurt, chicken, etc.
- Multivitamins. Experts say there is "insufficient evidence" to recommend multivitamins for disease prevention; studies have not found benefit from taking multivitamins.
The advice applies only to healthy adults. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are likely to need additional nutrients, and people who have certain medical conditions or are taking certain medications may also be more prone to nutrient deficiencies.
Nutrition experts advise talking to your doctor first before taking supplements.
If You Don't Have a Diagnosed Deficiency, Skip the Capsules and Eat Your Vegetables
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it's best to get your vitamins and minerals from food rather than pills.
Vitamins and minerals found in foods contain additional fibers and biochemicals that are "difficult to replicate" in supplements, said Emma Laing, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition, a balanced diet has been shown to prevent chronic disease and help control weight.
Many people may not even realize that they are already getting their daily allowance of vitamins and minerals from everyday foods like bread, tomatoes, peppers, and milk. For example, Americans spend millions each year on high vitamin C supplements when only about 6% of Americans are deficient in this nutrient, and studies show that vitamin C supplements will not prevent colds.
Research Shows Benefits of Taking Certain Vitamins and Supplements
However, certain vitamins and supplements have their own benefits.
Dermatologists recommend using topical retinoids. Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A to increase skin cell turnover, reduce discoloration, and firm skin—all ways to reduce signs of aging. Numerous retinoid serums are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
Vegans, vegetarians, and others without access to animal products should consider taking vitamin B12, says Dr. Eduardo Villamor, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan.
This nutrient is primarily found in animal products, and B12 deficiency can cause serious problems such as anemia and nerve damage.
Sports nutritionists have said that creatine supplements help build muscle. Studies have not identified serious health complications from overuse of melatonin in adults, although too much of the supplement can cause fatigue and mood swings.
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Studies show that zinc supplements can slightly reduce the duration or symptoms of a cold when taken early, but the Mayo Clinic still recommends consulting a doctor, as too much of the mineral can damage the nervous system.
Taking too many supplements is fraught with health problems
Many doctors warn against taking supplements unsupervised because taking too many supplements can harm the body.
A man in Australia lost the ability to walk after taking 70 times the recommended amount of vitamin B6. A British man has been hospitalized after losing 28 pounds (12 kg) in three months due to excessive vitamin D intake.
Iron supplements sometimes contain more than 100% of the daily value, and taking too much iron can cause permanent damage to the liver and brain. Some supplements interact with medications causing problems with the heart and the body's ability to clot.
A cardiologist who has seen an increase in drug-related heart problems said she would never recommend a person take a supplement without consulting a doctor.
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