Nutrition and Supplements: what’s important to know?
Supplements, which can be found many forms including pills, capsules, liquids, and powders, are additional vitamins and minerals which are taken to improve some aspect of health. However, it is important to know what supplements are appropriate for you before you begin adding them to your diet. In the worst scenario, supplements can interfere with current medications, but more often than not, they just provide your body with extra vitamins and minerals that you don’t need, your body doesn’t absorb, and they simply pass through you. Here, we give you some tips on how to decide which supplements may be right for you and how to safely incorporate them into your diet.
Over the counter supplements
Over the counter supplements are supplements that you can buy at any pharmacy or the vitamin section at a grocery store. These include herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, whole food supplements, and liquid nutritional supplements. You do not need a prescription to buy these supplements. However, it is always a good idea to check with your health care provider to discuss any medications you’re currently taking and the possible interactions nutritional supplements could have. It would also be beneficial to identify which forms of nutrition and supplements would be best for you to add to your diet in order to get the nutrients you need, but not overdo it.
Whole food supplements
Whole food supplements are supplements taken from sources where essential vitamins and nutrients have formed naturally. This provides multi-faceted, organic nutrition from one main plant, algae, or pollen source. This differs from vitamins or supplements which contain isolated compounds. An example of whole food supplements are bee pollen, which contains over 90 nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy acids. Other whole food supplements include alfalfa, a plant, and spirulina, an algae.
Fish oil supplements
Fish oil has been FDA approved for many conditions related to the heart and blood system, however it is used for other conditions from weight loss to arthritis. Many of the benefits of fish oil supplements are attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids. The human body does not produce omega-3 fatty acids, so we depend on our diet to provide it. While fish oil, and the omega-3 fatty acids it contains, can benefit the body in many ways, it is important to take only as directed, be aware of possible interactions it could have with current medications, and be aware of any side effects it may cause. If you have questions about fish oil supplements, or any of the supplements listed here, speak with your health care provider.