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The science behind dietary supplements

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/06/science-behind-dietary-supplements-multivitamins-fish-oil

theguardian.com

The science behind dietary supplements
Doctors say we need them. Advertising encourages us to take them. And - with industry estimates of more than £36bn being spent on them worldwide - we are clearly buying them. Yes, we're talking about supplements - things that most people will agree are good for us.

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Multivitamins

Several scientific reviews have shown daily multivitamins to have a weak effect on preventing heart attacks and improving cognition. Instead of taking one pill that can't possibly fit every person's daily requirements, it’s recommended to supplement specific deficiencies or needs.

If you're worried about a particular health problem, pay no attention to your diet, or are always dieting, then search for the common vitamin weakness, and look at your diet.

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Fish Oil

Often linked to good heart health, it’s been recently suggested by studies that those with the lowest levels of fish oil (specifically EPA and DHA) have the highest risk of heart disease. Research also suggests that it helps with brain development and also mental illnesses.

Given its safety, price, and potential benefits, the odds are that this is a product worth taking. Algae oil is a good vegetarian alternative for fish oil.

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Vitamin D

Essential for bone and mineral metabolism, it has been found to affect other systems, including the cardiovascular, muscular, endocrine and nervous. But only for those with genuine deficiency, vitamin D supplementation have significant benefits.

A blood test will show your vitamin D levels, and from there you can make an informed decision. 

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Glucosamine

Joint pain and osteoarthritis are commonly treated with glucosamine, and it helps with pain relief and slowing down arthritis.

Be sure you are using glucosamine sulfate, as glucosamine hydrochloride has been shown to be less effective. 

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Protein Powder

Whey protein has been shown to help aging men increase or preserve muscle mass, which is very important for mobility and overall health. To find out if you should use it, work out whether or not you are not eating enough regular protein.

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Over-The-Counter Pills

Over-The-Counter Pills

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Powdered Nutrients: The Facts

  • Most pills are a combination of vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Scientific studies show the natural forms (like fish in case of omega-3 fatty acids) contain the real benefits, and popping supplements do not have the same effect.
  • Vitamin E supplements can help to a limited extent but high doses can increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Vitamin B supplements are only to be used if one’s normal diet is not enough for them, or in case of a deficiency.
  • Taking time to do some exercise and having a plant-based diet is a better long term health solution.

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The danger of taking too many vitamins

As applied to any other subject, when it comes to vitamins people should be careful too. Taking too much of a certain vitamin might lead to disequilibrium in your immune system and not only. 

So, better safe than sorry, make sure to check with a doctor before starting any diet based on vitamins.