Questions That Need To Be Answered Before Buying Supplements

Whether it is because of a nutritional deficiency (for example, an iron deficiency), dietary choice, or desire to lead a healthier life, many people take nutritional supplements. These supplements can help those who may not have the time or resources to regulate their intake of certain vitamins or minerals. The most popular supplements include protein powder, vitamin D and vitamin E capsules, echinacea, and omega-3 (otherwise known as fish oil). Although supplements can be helpful, not every supplement is right for every person. Before taking a new supplement, it is important to consult with a doctor and consider the answers to the following eleven questions.

Are You Pregnant Or Planning To Become Pregnant?


Women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant are often advised to take a folic acid supplement before and during the first three months of pregnancy. This supplement contains a synthetic form of Vitamin B, also known as folate, which promotes healthy blood cell, spinal cord, and brain development in the baby.

American studies have recommended that pregnant women take a daily supplement that contains between 0.4 and 0.8 milligrams of folic acid and between 0.16 and 0.20 milligrams of iron. Many women increase their intake of folic acid during months four to nine of their pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Doctors also recommend that pregnant women take vitamin D supplements throughout their pregnancy to optimize their bone health and that of their developing child.

Are You A Vegan Or Vegetarian?


People who are vegan or vegetarian you may be missing out on key nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin B12, iron, omega-3, and zinc. Deficiencies in these nutrients do not result from the diet itself but instead from how people plan and execute it. There is also a wide range of vegetarian diets, and each has its own implications for nutrient intake and absorption. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest organization of food and nutritional professionals, recommends those on a vegan or vegetarian diet take a vitamin B12 supplement at the very least. This vitamin helps the nervous system and blood cells function normally. It is found naturally only in animal products, which is why many people who maintain vegetarian or vegan diets do not get enough of it.

Are You 50 Years Of Age Or Older?


Once people have reached the age of fifty, they may have natural deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. This can lead to a loss in bone and muscle density and weaker blood flow in both men and women. Women in this age group are advised to take folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin D to combat these age-related changes. Men, on the other hand, are advised to take vitamin C, vitamin E, and a multivitamin. Multivitamins designed for people over the age of 50 differ for men versus women because members of each sex require different amounts of specific vitamins and minerals.

Do You Have Teenage Daughters?


Teenage girls have been shown to have lower levels of essential vitamins and minerals than do teenage boys of the same age. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for a growing body as it promotes bone strength, calcium absorption, and mental clarity. It also helps the body combat fatigue and fights disease. Teenage girls who feel inexplicably tired and cannot think clearly may have a vitamin D deficiency, which can be treated with a daily supplement. A recent study conducted at John Hopkins University in the United States has also found evidence of a link between vitamin D deficiencies and obesity in teenagers. Teenagers with low vitamin D were five times more likely than their peers to be obese.

Are You Thinking Of Becoming A Father?


Over the past forty years, male sperm counts in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and North America have declined by more than fifty percent. The researchers who reported this finding did not identify a specific reason for this drop, but many experts argue that lifestyle and environmental factors are likely to blame. One potential explanation for this trend is that on average, men weigh much more now than they did in the past. This is consistent with evidence indicating that obese men have lower sperm counts. An increase in zinc and vitamin C intake is a good place to start for men who want to maintain good reproductive health. Physicians with expertise in fertility can advise men who are thinking of becoming fathers on additional appropriate supplements to take.

Do You Eat Oily Fish Twice A Week?


Regularly consuming oily fish (for example, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna) helps people consume the right amount of essential fatty acids. Those who do not eat enough fish oils naturally can take one of the many fish oil supplements that are available today. The benefits of fish oil are numerous and include combating depression, reducing inflammation, supporting cardiovascular health, decreasing blood pressure, and even preventing cancer. This fatty acid is much different from unhealthy fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish twice each week. Pregnant and nursing women should be cautious when consuming fish and fish oils because they can expose them to high levels of mercury.

Have You Been On Antibiotics?


Different studies conducted around the world have provided evidence that antibiotics cannot differentiate between 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in the human stomach. This disrupts the stomach, creating an imbalance of bacteria within the digestive system. Even a single course of antibiotics can alter regular stomach function and have permanent effects. To fight the negative effects of antibiotics on the body, people can take a nutritional supplement after completing a course of antibiotics. These supplements can include collagen pills, probiotic drinks, and even a 'gut-repairing' smoothie made specifically for this purpose. Antibiotics can also have a negative effect on the liver, which can be addressed with a liver detoxification supplement.

Do You Eat Seven Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables A Day?


In the Western world, many people do not even come close to meeting the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Consuming the most effective portions of fruit and vegetables has a positive effect on the body by reducing the risk of cancer, heart attacks, obesity, and strokes. Physicians generally recommended eating real fruits and vegetables as much as possible instead of relying on supplements. However, zinc or magnesium supplements can be useful for people who lead an active lifestyle. In recent years, whole food supplements have become popular as part of diet programs. Studies have found mixed evidence on the benefits of taking this type of supplement in comparison to eating real fruits and vegetables. However, the lack of these foods in Western diets has made these supplements popular.

How Restrictive Is Your Diet?


Many people hear the term 'restrictive diet' and think it involves restricting calorie intake by modifying portion sizes without becoming malnourished or deficient in nutrients. This is an accurate description of the term. However, people who suffer from Celiac disease and other food-related intolerances maintain a different type of restrictive diet. Physicians can diagnose vitamin and mineral deficiencies in people on these diets using a simple blood test. People can then alter their restrictive diet accordingly. Although some people end up on a restrictive diet because of an allergy, many people with allergies can find synthetic versions of the vitamin or mineral they are missing from their diet. It is important to discuss a restrictive diet with a physician or nutritional specialist before starting it.

Does Your Diet Contain A Lot Of Fried And Processed Foods?


Fried and processed foods are known for their lack of quality and nutrients. This type of food is manufactured to be cheap and mass produced, which explains why they are low in nutritional value. Fried and processed foods have also contributed to the current obesity epidemic in North America. Studies have consistently shown that people who eat fried and processed foods regularly have a higher risk of many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. People who eat lots of fried or processed foods may benefit from taking a multivitamin or nutritional supplement. Recent studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may be particularly beneficial for these people.

Are You Travelling To A Warm Climate During The Winter?


Limited sunlight exposure during the winter months can cause deficiencies in vitamin D, which is naturally absorbed and produced by humans after exposure to the sun. People with vitamin D deficiencies may experience bone pain and weakness, difficulty thinking clearly, muscle weakness, and unexplained fatigue and tiredness. Exposing the face and hands to sunlight for ten minutes each day is a natural way to boost vitamin D levels. However, it is not necessary to travel to a sunny destination just to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. There are also many supplements people can take. No matter the weather, health care professionals recommend that healthy people take vitamin D supplements year round.


    HealthPrep Staff