We all know that food is the best way to get our nutrition, but eating fresh veggies, fruits, and whole grains is not always an option, especially with our modern lifestyles. A good supplement can be a safe way to boost your nutrients and provide you with the nutrients which you are not getting from your diet. With the amount of conflicting information now available about dietary supplements, you may find it hard to make a considered decision on the right supplement for you.
To help everyone who is considering adding supplements to their daily routine, here are 7 tips to help you become a savvy dietary supplement user.
1. Track Your Symptoms
Nutritional deficiencies are not uncommon because we tend to stick to a certain diet. For example, if you have been vegan for years, you may lack vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D. The experts from SupplementFirst.com explain that the most common nutrients that many of us are lacking are vitamin D, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. When you are lacking certain nutrients, your body will respond accordingly. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
– Extreme hair loss
– Bone or joint pain
– Chronic fatigue
– Irregular heartbeat
– Problems with vision
– Slowly healing wounds
2. Always Check with your Doctor
Always check with your doctor about which supplements you should take and how much is optimum. This is particularly important if you are:
– in a certain population group, such as being pregnant, or nursing a baby
– plan to add supplements to your children’s diet
– plan to use supplements instead of medicine or in combination with medicine
Dietary supplements are usually risk-free, but in some cases, they can cause serious consequences. You should not go over the daily amount for vitamins or minerals unless your doctor recommends it.
3. Some Supplements may Interact with Medicines
If you plan to use a supplement together with your current medications, it’s important to note that some dietary supplements contain some active ingredients that can affect the effectiveness of your medicine. In the worst cases, they can produce adverse effects, or can even be life-threatening. For example, Coumadin (a prescription medicine), aspirin and vitamin E can each thin the blood, which will increase the chances of internal bleeding when they are taken together. A lot of drugs for heart disease, depression, seizures, cancer, or contraceptives interact with supplements, so it’s always best to check with your doctor in advance. If you are scheduled for surgery, it is critical to inform your doctor about all the supplements you are taking. You may be asked to stop taking them 2-3 weeks before your procedure as they can adversely affect the outcome of your surgery.
4. Do you Own Research
Certain dietary supplements are proven to help you in different ways, but they can’t cure disease. Here are some popular options:
– Vitamins: Beneficial for fixing a nutrient deficiency, but not likely to help you with long-term health problems.
– Supplements for age-related eye disease: Proven to slow symptoms with a certain mix of antioxidants, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Look for Third-Party Verification on the Bottle.
Just like any drugs that are available on the counter, supplements need to be certified by different organizations to be proven effective and safe. Look for the ones that are certified by the U.S Pharmacopeial or NSF International. Look for products that conduct third-party testing or are clinically tested, so that you can be reassured they do not contain high levels of contaminants or heavy metals. This information is available on the label, but they are expensive to conduct, so only prestigious companies can afford this verification service.
6. Don’t Just Choose the Cheapest Options
Expensive products aren’t necessarily more beneficial. Here are some things to look out for which are more important than price:
– Supplements should be extra potent and complete.
– Supplements should be tested to be absorbed by the human body.
– Supplements should be clinically tested for purity and safety.
– The price you are paying should be reasonable to what you will get from the product.
7. Choose Organic Herbal Supplements
As many supplements are not produced properly, they can contain certain harmful substances. Organic herbal supplements are free from harmful pesticides, so purchasing those from a well-known company is most likely to increase your chance of getting what you originally needed.
Supplements are proven to have many health benefits, but only if you purchase a well-produced product and it is suitable for you. It pays to do your research to identify what you need and what you should look for in the product.