Supplement facts you need to know

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Supplements ... by Karli Taylor

In the United States alone, about 20 billion dollars annually are spent on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other nutritional products. However, studies still show that people are lacking a good foundation in basic supplement information to help them make informed decisions about which products might best suit their individual needs. Here are some supplement facts that can help save you time and money  and get the most out of the products you use.

Natural vitamins are not better than synthetic vitamins.
A common mistake is that vitamins made in nature are superior to synthetically-made vitamins. The fact is that the chemical structure of synthetic and natural vitamins is basically identical. In other words, synthetic vitamin C looks the same as natural vitamin C. This means that your body cannot tell the difference between them. In some instances, the absorption of vitamins can differ between natural and synthetic, but this does not always favor natural vitamins. For example, folic acid, common among prenatal vitamins, is actually the synthetic version of the B vitamin, folate. Folic acid is used in prenatal vitamins because it is better absorbed.

Soy can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Many people have heard that soy may help cholesterol levels but most have no idea how much might help. For soy to have an impact on cholesterol, studies show between 25 to 50 grams of soy per day is going to be needed. So, those who are supplementing with soy-containing foods and/or supplements and not seeing a reduction in cholesterol may simply not be eating enough.

Vitamins do not give us energy.
Some people may take massive amounts of vitamins (especially B vitamins) in the hopes that they will provide more pep to get through hectic days. This is why you often see a lot of B vitamins in energy drinks. However, a problem arises when it becomes known that vitamins do not contain calories- therefore they contain no useable energy! Vitamins do help us extract energy from food and process it. In a malnourished person, such vitamins may indeed help, but for those who eat an even halfway decent diet, vitamins alone are unlikely to improve energy levels.

Glucosamine may help arthritis.
Many studies over the last several years found that glucosamine may help reduce arthritis-related pain. For glucosamine to work, you must have osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis results when the cartilage between bones wears away. It is the most common type of arthritis and is the type that responds best to glucosamine. While the degree of osteoarthritis and length of time you have it may impact success with this nutrient, studies tend show that four to eight weeks of glucosamine supplementation may be needed before results are observed.

Natural does not always mean safe.
A common mantra repeated on many web sites today is that because supplements are natural, they are automatically safe for everyone. On the contrary, some supplements, if used by the wrong people may have significant side effects. For example, St. John’s Wort, which is typically used for depression, may interact with not only antidepressant drugs but also those used to treat cancer and AIDS. Also, Vitamin E might reduce the blood’s ability to clot. This is the reason why doctors typically tell their patients to stop
taking E prior to any operation.

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