Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Supplementing Your Healthy Lifestyle

I am often approached by clients and readers with questions about supplements. With so much misinformation out there and the fact that the FDA does not regulate supplements, I’m glad they ask. I do take supplements, as recommended by my physicians. These include calcium, vitamin D, fish oil, iron (with vitamin C to aid absorption), and glucosamine. I encourage you to inform your doctor of any supplement you take, as there can be adverse reactions, side-effects, or conflicts with prescribed or over-the-counter medications.

Tufts University agrees with my suggestion to check with your health care provider and offers these other tips regarding the use of supplements:

• Be skeptical of claims on product websites that sound over the top, such as those in all CAPITAL LETTERS or with multiple exclamation points. If studies are cited, see if they have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. You can check for the study in the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database .
• Investigate the experts quoted. Are they independent researchers or physicians who are qualified to speak in the field being addressed – or are they paid for their endorsement?
• Use good judgment. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
• Don’t assume that the product can’t hurt you, even if it doesn’t help you. The FDA warns that “dietary supplement manufacturers may not necessarily include warnings about potential adverse effects on the labels of their products.” Remember that claims that a product is “herbal” and “natural” do not guarantee its safety.

From the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter Volume 10G

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