If you’re wondering whether supplements are a waste of money, what you’re really asking is whether you really need to supplement and if they help. I get the same question from people in Fairfax and Sterling, VA. They hear about these miracle pills on infomercials that tout the benefits of certain herbs or juice concoctions you can buy at a health food store. Do you need them? That depends on a number of factors. What’s certain is that they don’t replace healthy eating! There are situations where supplements may help. Smokers, people under stress and seniors may benefit from additional vitamin C, for instance.
Taking a vitamin D may not be necessary.
People in warmer climates may not need to supplement their diet with additional vitamin D if they sun safely. The body creates its own vitamin D from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Slathering up with sun blocker every time you leave the house isn’t a healthy way to handle the sun. Instead, smart sunning, getting small incremental exposure to the sun daily, then blocking unnecessary rays with sun block, can help you improve your vitamin D level. You need Vitamin D to build strong teeth and bones, improve mental functioning, boost your immune system, help reduce abdominal fat, improve hair and heart health.
Age and sex may dictate the types of supplements you need.
Pregnant and lactating women may need different supplements from their counterparts who aren’t. Women of birthing age also should supplement with folate, just in case they do get pregnant. It’s important for the baby. B12 can help improve energy and magnesium supplements can help reduce the risk of muscle cramping—think coronary as the biggest risk, improve energy, lower blood pressure and aid with hormone balancing. Both older men and older women often have more problems processing food and absorbing nutrients, so supplements may be necessary.
Supplements can’t perform miracles.
Taking a supplement won’t overcome poor eating habits. It won’t overcome bad lifestyle decisions like lack of exercise, lack of sleep and leading a stressful life. You can’t go on a bender where you drink to excess and smoke continuously and expect a pill to solve the problem. NOTHING can replace a healthy lifestyle, no matter how great the supplement is. Remember, no matter how convincing the advertising, supplements aren’t miracle cures for weight loss, building muscles and boosting your health. Nobody regulates the supplement industry, so you may be paying a fortune for benefits you can get from simply eating healthier.
- If you eat healthy and life a healthy lifestyle, but still feel you need a supplement, always check with your doctor first, especially if you take medication. Some interact with medications.
- Some vitamin supplements may be money flushed down the drain, literally. Water soluble vitamins like vitamin see pass through your body and are eliminated in your urine if you don’t need them.
- Fat soluble vitamins accumulate in your body in your fat cells. You can get too much of those. They can create health issues, so be very careful when you supplement Vitamin A, D and E.
- A large group of research studies show that supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids can boost your heart health. Taking fish oil supplements may be beneficial.