SupplementsÂ certainlyÂ seem likeÂ aÂ simple solution to better nutrition without the hassle of healthy eating, but are they really a solution?Â While some can be effective, more often than not, they have littleÂ toÂ no effect. In fact, higher doses of some supplements can increase your risk of serious health problems, such as kidney stones and cancer. So think twice before you try to take this health shortcut!
Supplements You Should Skip
Before you take any supplements, you should talk to your doctor. Don’t assume that just because a supplement contains nothing but vitamins or minerals, it is “safe”. Here’s a list of the supplements you should skip.
Vitamin C Supplements
Health Risk: Can Increase The Risk Of Kidney Stones
Vitamin C is linked to immune function and there is a growing belief that simply taking a vitamin C supplement will help to prevent or treat the common cold. There have been several studies on the effectiveness of vitamin C for the common cold, but many of the results are contradictory and so the subject remains controversial.
Whether or not vitamin C can prevent colds, you should skip vitamin C supplements. Studies show that large doses of vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones in some individuals, even if they do not have a history of kidney problems.
Vitamin E Supplements
Health Risk: Can Cause Fatal Brain Hemorrhages And Â Increases The Risk Of CancerÂ
Vitamin E has strong anti-oxidant properties and so people started to take vitamin E supplements for its alleged anti-cancer properties. However, a recent large-scale study on the long-term effects of vitamin E, showed that men who took vitamin E supplements had an increased risk of prostate cancer as compared to those who did not. Furthermore, high doses of vitamin E reduce blood clotting and this can lead to bleeding in the brain.
Health Risk: Linked To Increased Mortality Rate
Every vitamin in our diet plays an important role in our overall health.Â For instance, vitamin A is essential for healthy teeth and bones, while B vitamins are required for brain function and vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes wound healing. This is why people often feel that the best way to ensure that they get all the vitamins they require is by simply popping a multivitamin.
However, most studies on the effects of multivitamins on health indicate that they have little or no real value. What’s worse is that some studies show that taking a multivitamin regularly could increase the risk of mortality in women over 25.
Health Risk:Â Makes You More Susceptible To Cancer
Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables have been proven to have almost miraculous powers — from lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and several cancers to reducing wrinkles and age lines. However, antioxidant supplements do not exhibit similar properties.
In fact, a large-scale randomized trialÂ found that smokers who took a high dose of the antioxidant beta carotene had an increased risk of lung cancer and death. Even moderately high doses of some antioxidants can increase the risk of several types of cancer, so it would be best to skip antioxidant supplements unless your doctor specifically recommended them.
Supplements You Should TakeÂ
There are several supplements that you can use to improve your overall health, but make sure that you first discuss it with your doctor. Here a list of the supplements you should take.
Vitamin D Supplements
Health Benefits:Â Improves Bone Health And Offers Protection From Cancer
Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and it can help to prevent bone conditions such as osteoporosis. Vitamin D is not easily available in our diet and instead we meet our vitamin D requirements when we go out in the sun, as our skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
If you spend most of your time indoors, a vitamin D supplement could be just what you need. Preliminary research shows that vitamin D could provide some amount of protection from certain cancers.
Health Benefits: Can Shorten The Duration Of The Common Cold
Studies show that a zinc supplement taken within 24 hours from the onset of a common cold can help to reduce the duration of the cold. You can have a low dose of a zinc supplement along with a couple of soothing zinc lozenges to fight off the symptoms and get back on your feet quickly.
Folic Acid Supplements
Health Benefits: Reduces The Risk Of Birth Defects In Unborn Babies
Folic acid supplements are a must if you are trying to get pregnant or if you are already pregnant. Studies show that the risk of neural-tube defects and congenital heart defects in unborn babies is much lower in pregnant women who take folic acid supplements as compared to those who do not. Folic acid supplements might also prove useful as an adjuvant treatment for depression.
While supplements can help to prevent or even treat some health problems, there is currently no evidence that any of these supplements can reverse the course of chronic diseases. If you really think you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, consult a dietitian, nutritionist, or your doctor for advice on appropriate supplements and dosage.
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