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What You Should Know About Wellness Supplements

Jun 27

Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle or just live healthier, there are tons of new health and fitness products that can help. But before you go shopping, it's important to consult your doctor about your goals and if supplements could interfere with any existing medications you take.

Wellness Supplments

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on vitamins and Mit Wellness supplements. You can find them on shelves in drug stores, supermarkets and health food stores. But is all that money well spent?

Some supplements have been proven to be beneficial: Calcium and vitamin D keep bones strong, folic acid decreases the risk of certain birth defects, and a combination of vitamin C and E, carotenoids, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin can slow further vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration. But most have not been thoroughly tested to determine if they are effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve dietary supplements before they go on the market. Instead, the agency focuses on making sure that manufacturers follow good manufacturing practices and don't make unproven claims about their products.

The FDA also requires that dietary supplement labels include a Supplement Facts panel, a listing of all dietary ingredients in the product and the amount per serving. The panels are designed to make it easy for consumers to compare similar products. The labels must also note that the product has not been evaluated by the FDA to treat, diagnose or cure a disease.

Many supplements have been linked to certain health conditions or side effects, but the link isn't always clear. For example, vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of blood thinners and the herb St. John's wort can speed the breakdown of many drugs, including antidepressants. It's also important to avoid herbal supplements if you have liver or kidney problems, because some can interact with those medications.

Unless your doctor recommends them, most experts suggest getting vitamins and minerals from a diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It's also wise to eat meals at regular times and avoid processed foods, which are more likely to contain additives and extra calories. Finally, it's a good idea to talk to your health care provider before you begin taking any new dietary supplements. That way, they can advise you on whether you need them and suggest the best brands to buy. And remember that the most effective supplements are those that you actually use on a regular basis.