The range of dietary supplements available in health stores and online is so extensive, it can be a confusing and frustrating experience trying to choose which ones might be of benefit. Each product is marketed to make it appealing to as many people as possible, and as a result, a browse along the supplement shelves can make you wonder how many essential micronutrients you could be lacking. Unfortunately, if you were to take multiple supplements in an effort to improve your health, you could end up making it worse with overdoses and negative product interactions. There is definitely a place for supplementation, but it’s important to understand how supplements work and when they would be appropriate for you to use.
Vitamins and minerals
These are one of the first types of products people turn to if they think they need a health boost. You can buy individual vitamins and minerals, combinations to help with specific problems, or multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. Many people choose to take a multi-vitamin every day, just to make sure they’re getting enough of everything they need. Others wish to target specific symptoms that could indicate a deficiency in a particular micronutrient, for instance, you might take an iron supplement if you were feeling weak and washed out.
Nutrition is a subject that is constantly being researched and assessed, and studies show that most people would get more than enough essential vitamins and minerals from a healthy, balanced diet. Micronutrients tend to be easier for your body to process if they come from the food you consume rather than a supplement, so choosing to eat more fresh fruit to keep your Vitamin C levels up, or dark leafy greens for Vitamins A, K, and E and iron are the best ways to ensure you’re getting everything you need. If you’re able to eat a wide variety of foods from all the food groups, you shouldn’t need to take a supplement. However, if you have a strong dislike of certain types of foods, it is possible you could be deficient.
A blood test can highlight any clinical deficiencies, so if you suspect you might not be getting enough micronutrients, it’s worth getting tested to see what the situation is. You can then adjust your diet or supplement it with the exact products that will ensure optimum health.
There are many products formulated to target specific ailments with a combination of substances thought to provide relief from symptoms. For example, evening primrose oil and B vitamins are used to help relieve the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome, and fish oils, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate are commonly used by people with arthritis. In some cases, there is a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence to support the fact that they help with symptoms, but there’s less in the way of clinical research into the effectiveness of medical supplements. Trials are ongoing into many herbal and dietary remedies, so it’s a good idea to keep informed on the results of such research, so you can make an informed decision about which supplements to try. The range of medications for some conditions is so extensive it can be hard to know which one to buy, but if you have an understanding of how well the active ingredients have performed in strictly controlled tests, it gives you a better chance of selecting a product that could have beneficial effects.
One very important consideration is the potential for any kind of supplement to interact with prescribed medications. If you’re undergoing treatment for any medical condition, you should speak to your doctor before starting a course of supplements to make sure there’s no risk of negative interactions between your prescribed medicines and the supplement.
Supplements for fitness and strength
If you’ve been feeling off-color, or been laid up with the flu, you could well be feeling in need of some kind of tonic. There are many products aimed at giving you a boost, from short-term fixes that contain stimulants like caffeine to ones that look to address underlying health issues by targeting micronutrients that you may be temporarily short of, like Vitamin C and iron for post-viral fatigue. If you feel in need of an energy boost, these products can be helpful in the short term, but make sure you’re not masking the symptoms of an underlying health problem by keeping yourself going on energy-boosting drinks or snacks.
There’s also an extensive range of supplements aimed at people who are looking to increase their muscle mass and build up their physique. Many are high-protein powders and supplements designed to optimize muscle development. This isn’t exclusive to body-builders, all kinds of people want to find ways to help get a toned physique and the perfect beach body. In previous years steroids were the drug of choice for building muscle, but they had harmful side effects that led to them being declared illegal back in 2004. An alternative treatment is prohormones, which supplement your body’s hormone production in a more subtle way than steroids but have many of the same results.
If you are looking for ways to improve your physique, you should think carefully before taking any kind of hormone-related treatment and research the topic thoroughly. A good place to start is with a reputable source of information such as RUI-Products, who supply researchers with a range of related substances and thus have extensive knowledge on the subject.
If you’re worried you might be lacking something in your diet, or you’re looking for some help with treating symptoms of a medical condition, supplements are an obvious place to start. Many people do find that supplements help significantly, and in many cases taking a supplement is preferable to resorting to more prescription medication. The important thing to remember is that if you have symptoms of any kind, you should talk to your doctor first. You want to be able to rule out any medical causes that could need specific treatment, and make sure that there won’t be any adverse effects if you do start taking a supplement. Tests will also highlight any deficiencies you may have, meaning you can spend your money on the most relevant and effective treatments.