Research Findings On Supplements

  • Pharmaceuticals undergo extensive testing to prove they're effective and safe before they can be sold, but dietary supplements can be sold without proof of claims, effectiveness or safety.
  • Daily multivitamin consumption does not lower heart disease risk.
  • The FDA has found more than 500 supplements adulterated with pharmaceuticals or closely related compounds. Those can cause unwanted side effects and may be especially risky when taken with heart drugs or other prescription medications.

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Supplements And Doctor Prescriptions

Because of the potential risks and unclear benefits of supplements, most doctors advise against them. However, doctors often recommend specific vitamin and mineral supplements to their patients, such as calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and iron for people with iron deficiency.

When Buying Supplements
  • Consider only single-ingredient supplements. Multi-ingredient supplements make it hard to identify which substance is having an effect and they are more likely to be adulterated with banned drugs.
  • Tell your doctor about any supplement you take, so they can check it will interact with any of the medicines you're on.

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Back when undernutrition and vitamin deficiencies were widespread, supplements made some sense. But now one of the more urgent health problems is obesity and overnutrition while a growing body of studies shows that supplements’ effects are minimal or negative. 

Remember that you can’t know for sure what's really in your supplement bottle. And that the pills probably won't make you any healthier (unless you have a medically diagnosed deficiency). And they might even be hurting you.

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Natural vs. synthetic medicine

A lot of people believe that when it comes to medicine, “natural” is better, healthier, and safer than “unnatural” or synthetic drugs.

People believe that nature is pure and inherently superior to humans. And these beliefs (or biases) affect the decisions people make about their health.

Supplements don't replace a healthy diet

Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet.

And they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits.

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