Read This Before Settling on a Supplement Regimen

Vitamins and minerals should be obtained from a health diet, they are often better absorbed by the body and have fewer potential side effects. Many studies haven’t shown that random use of vitamins or supplements are need. Some individuals are lacking folic acid or beta carotene however too much can increase risks of serious disease, even stroke. Specific deficiencies and conditions can be addressed by vitamins however. So here are a few tips when taking supplements.

1. Safety labels on supplements are difficult to evaluate. Serious complications that occur from a particular supplement may have been reported to the FDA, but generally most products have escaped any scrutiny at all.

2. The safest way to proceed is to check any health claims with your provider. If there is published data in peer reviewed medical literature, that should be able to be checked.

3. Check with your health care provider or pharmacist to find out if there are known interactions between your supplements or medications you are taking.

4. Be monitored by your health care provider. They can help monitor you for unwanted side effects like kidney stones, liver toxicity, breast development in men, acne, unwanted hair growth, hair loss, or rapid heart rates can be monitored, evaluated and treated.

5. If you have products that are labeled ‘support’ they may in fact be treatments. You do not want to allow yourself to get super-physiologic doses of medications such as thyroid hormone.

6. In a Mayo clinic proceeding study published in March of 2018 they showed that some compounds labeled adrenal support had undisclosed adrenal and steroid hormones that can drive up your levels of adrenal hormones, or male and female hormones related to estrogens and testosterone. These treatments can have wide ranging effects, not just on hormones and metabolism, but on any medical conditions, including cancers.

7. Hormone dosing is adjusted relative to your age, your weight, your diet, and your workouts. These are additional reasons to see a health care provider for advice.

8. There is evidence that the safest supplements have been evaluated by places independent of the FDA including Consumerlab.com, NSF International, UL, or the US PHarmacopeia.

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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