Monday, June 17, 2013

Tips On Choosing The Best Supplements

The supplement market is huge, and it can be pretty intimidating if you aren’t sure which products to choose. I wanted to give you my thoughts on supplements, and some tips on picking out which ones are right for your needs.

Your supplement needs are very dependent on lifestyle and health. Strive to get your nutrients from food sources over supplements. Nutrients from food are better absorbed, and have tons of other benefits; such as fiber or protein.  However, realistically, most of us are still lacking nutrients on a daily basis.  Supplements are great for giving us that little boost we need.

I don’t recommend taking any fat-soluble vitamins unless your lab work or doctor tells you otherwise. These are Vitamins A, D, E, and K. You body will store these vitamins in your liver, until you need them. Excess intake of these can damage your liver.  So, next time you see vitamin A being advertised to help your hair and nails grow, think twice about it. Yes, it will help your hair and nails, but it can really harm you if taken daily and in large amounts.

I also don’t recommend taking amino acids. Even just taking one specific amino acid supplement will overload your intestines and limit the absorption of other amino acids, which could lead to a deficiency in another amino acid.

I DO recommend these supplements: a multivitamin, vitamin C, and B complex.  These are good for everyone. They will not damage your body, and they will promote healing, and aid in normal body functions.

A multivitamin will cover most of the nutrients you miss throughout the day.  The main functions of a multivitamins is to prevent deficiency. Buy one with a mix of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant. It can stop the formation of carcinogens, which reduces your risk of cancer.  It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and increases your HDL (good cholesterol), which helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C is needed in the synthesis of norepinepherine, which is the hormone that helps you feel motivated and alert (yes please!).  I recommend taking anywhere from 500- 1,000mg daily.

B Complex is a fun little mix of B vitamins. It contains Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, B6, and Pantothenic acid. All of these are needed for the body to convert fuel into energy, relieve the body from stress, and promote growth and development.  Surprisingly, many people in America are lacking these vitamins, according to the USDA.

In addition, I recommend taking calcium if you are a woman.  Calcium is needed for bone formation, immunity, muscle function, and pH balance.  After the age of 30, women start to lose bone mass.  It is important to build bone mass throughout childhood and adolescence, to prevent osteoporosis as adults.  I recommend taking 500mg per day, because your body won’t absorb any more than that at one time.

Look for the USP seal, when choosing supplements.  USP is an outside company that tests the products to ensure that the supplements contain exactly what the labels claim they do, since the FDA is not heavily involved in the regulation of these products.

Also, avoid supplements with coloring agents (yellow #6, or red #40). Why the hell do your supplements need coloring?! Coloring agents are awful for you.  In addition, avoid any supplements that contain high fructose corn syrup. Eww that is the last thing you need in your vitamins!

When taking your supplements, do not take them on an empty stomach. Not only will you absorb less on an empty stomach, but it can also make you very nauseous. I’ve made that mistake a couple times before.

To sum up today’s lesson…
Fat soluble vitamins = No! (unless doctor prescribed)
Multivitamins, B Complex, Vitamin C & Calcium=Yes!
Coloring agents & High Fructose Corn Syrup= Bad!
USP Seal on supplement bottles = Good!

On that note, go spend some time in your local drug stores’ vitamin aisle!

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