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Should I Be Taking Supplements?

Feb 05, 2024
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About half of the people in the United States take dietary supplements at least occasionally. These vitamins, minerals, or botanicals are usually non-prescription, over-the-counter products. Should you be taking supplements?

About half of the people in the United States take dietary supplements at least occasionally. These can be vitamins, minerals, or botanicals (sometimes known as herbal supplements) and are usually non-prescription, over-the-counter products. 

Are these necessary and should you be taking them? It’s not always an easy question to answer. There are potential drug interactions and in some cases taking too much of a supplement can be harmful. In other cases, unneeded products may simply pass through your body unused. 

Working with our team at HealthyU Clinics assures that you get the nutrients you need in a way that’s safe and supportive of your overall health. Let’s examine the truth about dietary supplements so that you have a good place to start the discussion with us. 

Why would dietary supplements be needed? 

The dietary supplement industry is big business. Sales are driven by advertising, social media,  and word-of-mouth, often promising life-changing results in the form of a pill, powder, or beverage that will fix virtually anything that ails you. 

The truth is that most people receive all the vital nutrients required for good health through a balanced diet. Unless you stick to a narrow range of foods that are deficient in certain key substances, you’re probably not suffering a serious nutritional shortage. 

However, there are conditions and situations that could leave you with nutrient gaps. People with osteoporosis may need calcium and vitamin D in quantities greater than a normal diet contributes. Pregnant women can benefit from iron supplements. 

As antioxidants, vitamins C and E prevent and repair cell damage. Some medical conditions may also affect the absorption of minerals from food sources. 

The limits of supplements

Don’t look to dietary supplements as health game changers. In most cases, they may tweak your overall health, but there’s no evidence that supplements can heal or reverse the effects of a condition or disease. 

Sometimes, supplements aren’t safe. Vitamin K interacts with blood thinners, reducing their effects. Gingko, on the other hand, increases blood thinning. Vitamin A and beta carotene can raise the risk of lung cancer when taken by smokers. 

In many cases, taking oral supplements provides only a fraction of what you think you’re taking since the digestive process may destroy active ingredients or fail to absorb the full dose. 

The importance of medical supervision

The safety and effectiveness of any supplement depend on a range of factors, including your condition(s), medications, and intended benefits. There’s a lot to balance. 

Working with our doctors provides an informed overview that helps you get the most from a supplement or, in some cases, achieve your health goal through other means. 

With 10 Arizona offices to serve you, HealthyU Clinics are conveniently located. Book an appointment online or by phone to discuss your supplement strategy with one of our team. We’re ready to help you today.