While supplement labels may tempt you to buy with big promises like “reduced stress” and “better sleep,” it’s important to be skeptical and do some preliminary research to see if a particular ingredient actually lives up to those promises. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve vitamins and supplements; It simply checks manufacturing practices and steps if a particular supplement becomes a public health concern. So some companies make dubious claims and get away with it. A recent consumer review found that 46 percent of dietary supplements do not live up to their lofty promises.
Basically, it pays to be skeptical of Susan when you peruse the supplement aisle at the drugstore. But to make things a a little Easier, we spoke to registered dietitian and supplement researcher Anne Danahy, RDN, founder of Craving Something Healthy, and Kelly LeVeque, CN, holistic nutritionist and best-selling author, to talk about the supplements you should consider adding to your cart — and How to determine if a product is really right for you.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Supplements
1. Can I get this vitamin from my diet instead of taking a supplement?
Nutritionists are a big fan of telling you to “take vitamins,” and Danahi is no exception. “[Everyone] They should consider whether there are gaps in their diet that can be filled with food before resorting to supplementation,” Danahi says. The nutrients in whole foods are present in balanced amounts and as part of a complete package that contains protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, etc., all of these work synergistically in your body, so always start with a balanced diet. “Essentially, most people should try to increase their intake of certain foods before turning to the pill to make up the difference.
However, some people may struggle to meet their needs through diet alone, whether it is due to a health condition (such as celiac disease) or their own eating plan. Vegetarians, for example, have more limited sources of the brain-boosting B12 because it is most commonly found in animal foods. In such cases, supplementation can be incredibly useful to fill in nutritional gaps. Pregnant women should also take folic acid supplements and other vitamins before delivery to support their baby’s growth and reduce the risk of birth defects.
2. What interests you about this particular supplement?
You may have heard that 5-HTP can help you calm the problem when you are. most essential Stress or melatonin can support a good night’s sleep. While there is often some evidence to support these touted benefits, it’s essential to make sure you address lifestyle factors that may also contribute to these issues, says Danahy. If work keeps you busy around the clock, for example, could you try stress management strategies like exercise, meditation, gardening, or reading before reaching for a supplement? If the answer is no, that’s totally fine – but the question is worth asking.
3. What can my family history tell me about nutritional supplements that might benefit me?
“Even if someone is otherwise healthy, I recommend that they assess their risk for certain health conditions due to their lifestyle or family history,” Danahi says. “For example, someone with a family history of heart disease and blood pressure that’s starting to rise might want to consider omega-3 fish oil, beetroot powder, or some antioxidants.”
If this sounds like you, ask your doctor for his opinion of supplements based on your personal family history. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
The 4 Supplements to Take, According to a Dietitian and Nutritionist
1. Vitamin D
According to Danahi, most people can benefit from vitamin D, “It’s hard to get enough from your diet unless you eat a lot of salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milk,” she says. “This is also a vitamin that most people are not deficient in, but many people have suboptimal levels.” Vitamin D has many essential functions, including helping your body absorb calcium (which is critical for bone health), reducing inflammation, and promoting mental health. In other words, it’s very important – and worth thinking about.
Recommended daily intake: 600-800 IU per day (15-20 mcg).
2. Omega 3
If you live and breathe now, you’ve probably heard the hype surrounding omega-3s. “Omega-3 or fish oil is another type that I often recommend to middle-aged people. It can help lower blood pressure and triglycerides, but I also love it because it supports health.” perceptual and has anti-inflammatory effects,” says Danahi. She cautions that eating food sources that contain omega-3s — such as salmon, sardines and fatty fish two to three times a week — will still be a better option than supplementation.
Suggested daily intake: 1.1 grams for women 1.6 grams for men (for reference, a 2-ounce serving of farmed salmon contains about 1.5 grams of omega-3s)
“[Magnesium] It participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, so it helps support everything from bone and muscle to glucose and blood pressure to DNA and RNA synthesis. “You can take it anytime, but some people feel it helps them relax in the evening if they take it after dinner.” The mineral is also essential for heart health because it supports healthy nerves, cells, and muscles. She recommends magnesium glycinate, a form of magnesium that is easy for the body to absorb. (FYI, magnesium appears in foods including spinach, black beans, and almonds.)
Suggested daily intake: 310-360 milligrams per day for women (depending on age and pregnancy), and 400-420 milligrams for men (depending on age).
LeVeque, for example, is a huge fan of vitamins to cover all your bases. It can be a good way to consume a variety of micro and macro nutrients without paying for individual vitamins.
A caveat though: multivitamins come in many varieties, so you’ll need to consult a doctor, dietitian, or other trusted health professional about which combination is right for you based on factors such as your age, diet, current medications, and whether or not it’s pregnant. Harvard Health recommends reading the label and choosing the label that contains the recommended daily amount of different vitamins and minerals And the Features the USP seal of approval on the label (indicating the purity and potency of a particular vitamin).
Suggested daily intake: Varies by vitamin.
Long story short: Supplements are not as straightforward as they seem. So if you have long questions, be sure to check with your primary care physician. There is no point in spending big at the pharmacy if it doesn’t have a major impact on your daily health and wellness.