Every time you go to the health food store, it is difficult to know which dietary and nutritional supplements to buy. There are vitamins, minerals, and even weight loss pills to choose from.
But do you need to take any supplements? And if so, which ones are the best?
Supplements manufacturers offer their products in a wide variety of forms, including traditional tablets, capsules, powders, drinks and energy bars.
The most popular food supplements in Malaysia are vitamins D and E, and minerals like calcium and iron.
Do You Need Food Supplements?
This is a question asked by many, and the answer is not a straightforward one. When you don’t eat a nutritious variety of foods, you need to get the nutrients from a food supplement. However, you have to keep in mind that supplements can’t replace foods that are part of a healthy diet.
For example, calcium and vitamin D are the perfect combinations to prevent osteoporosis as they keep the bones strong; folic acid should be consumed by pregnant women because it decreases the risk of certain birth defects, and omega-3 fatty acids are great for people with heart disease.
So, how can you decide which supplements to consume?
- Do a proper evaluation. In this regard, asking your friends or family members which supplement to take is not a good idea. Instead, take a blood test and see which nutrient(s) you need, so you can add that specific supplement to your diet.
- Take the right dose. Make sure to read the supplement manufacturers’ recommendations on how to properly take the product. Remember, taking more does not mean better results, so beware of mega doses. Every supplement comes with personalized dosage instructions.
- Discuss your supplements with your doctors. This point is especially true if you are taking medication, pregnant or breastfeeding. Keep in mind that many supplements can interfere with prescription drugs. Talk to your doctor to make sure you can safely add the supplements with your current medications. Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding should always consult their doctor before taking any new supplements.
Three Supplements You Should Take Carefully
1. Vitamin D
As you know, vitamin D is excellent at keeping the bones strong as it promotes calcium absorption. It is so popular because it is difficult to get enough from food.
Taking high doses is also not a good option. The recommended daily dose is 600 IU for people for up to 70 years old and 800 IU for people aged 71 or older.
2. Saint John’s Wort
Saint John’s Wort is a herb that is commonly used to treat mild depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. It can be taken as tea or in capsules.
The problem with this supplement according to OEM companies in Malaysia, is that it could be dangerous when it is combined with other medications, especially with antidepressant or anti-anxiety products.
It can also reduce the effectiveness of other medications such as birth control pills, chemotherapy, HIV or AIDS medications, and drugs to prevent organ rejection after a transplant.
So make sure to always talk to your doctor before taking Saint John’s Wort.
Everybody needs calcium to have strong bones and a healthy heart, but too much is not a good option.
If you are taking more than 2,500 mg per day (for adults aged 19 to 50), and more than 2,000 mg per day (for individuals aged 51 and over), without adequate vitamin D to absorb it, the extra calcium lands in the arteries. So be careful.
You can add calcium to your diet with tofu, nonfat milk, cheese, fortified cereal, and juices.
In a Nutshell
As you can see, the best way to know which supplement is good for you is by talking to your doctor and see if you need a nutrient.
The best way to have a healthy lifestyle is by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.
Remember, a food supplement should not replace a healthy diet.
It is better to choose single-ingredient supplements made by reliable supplement manufacturers in Malaysia as they are more likely to have the right amount of the ingredients advertised on the label.