How do I Choose a Supplement?
The best nutrition-based strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to choose a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods. With our busy lives and demanding jobs, additional nutrients from supplements may help some of us meet our nutritional needs. So, how do I choose a supplement?
How do I choose a supplement?
Taking supplements does not always come without risk. Some supplements could just as well be labelled as “expensive urine”.
Here are a few guidelines to follow when choosing a supplement:
Let your healthcare professional advise you on sorting reliable information from questionable information
Most supplements are self-prescribed. We all want to take good care of ourselves and find a pill that promises it can help us fulfil this desire. However, you need to consider that your hairdresser’s detox pill recommendation may have a dangerous reaction to the heart medication you are taking. Or the vitamin cocktail your great-aunt’s third cousin recommended for your arthritis may be as useless as the ’g’ in lasagna. A healthcare professional looks at all aspects of your health and recommends a supplement accordingly.
Be aware that some supplement ingredients, including nutrients and plant components, can be toxic.
Some ingredients and products can be harmful when consumed in high amounts when taken for a long time or when used in combination with certain other drugs, substances, or foods.
Do not self-diagnose any health condition
Work with healthcare professionals to determine how best to achieve optimal health. A blood test or a thorough clinical examination can diagnose a specific deficiency before starting a supplement.
Do not substitute a dietary supplement for prescription medicine or therapy, or the variety of foods important to a healthful diet.
Do not assume that the term “natural” when referring to a product ensures that the product is wholesome or safe
For example kava, a plant native to the islands of the South Pacific. People use kava as a dietary supplement for anxiety but it is often associated with severe liver damage. Ephedra, an evergreen shrub-like plant native to central Asia and Mongolia, has been used for centuries for colds, fever, and other conditions. Heart problems and risk of death are associated with Ephedra. “Natural” does not equate to harmless!
Be wary of hype and headlines
Sound health advice is generally based upon research over time, not a single study. News and social media platforms have promoted dietary supplements for the treatment and prevention of coronavirus disease, often with extremely limited evidence.
Learn to spot false claims
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Thus far, no single pill exists that will do for you what a healthy balanced lifestyle will do for you.
Dietary supplements can be a great way to help us achieve our health and wellness goals. However, they are often not as harmless as we believe and completely unnecessary in some cases. So, chat to your healthcare professional before choosing a supplement.
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