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are supplements really safe

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I read this: Nutrients in pill form can't give you the same benefits as real food....from CR On health news letter

I get the Consumer Report ..ON HEALTH " news has a lot of common sense articles.....
I won't post the article and worry about copy right issues...but it was sure and eye opener to read....for me the bottom line is most supplement don't do what they are advertised to do.....I sort of knew that but I do take Vit. D as my blood work showed I was deficient . I also take fish oil , and a CoQ10 tablet....and I add 2 tablespoons of flax seed to my fiber one cereal each morning....
From what I can tell I eat a balanced healthy diet and probably don't need any supplements.....

I was also surprised to know that there are some risks at taking supplements, they are not closely regulated....and don't post the potential dangers on the bottles....

It might be I am wasting my money on these products and could even be putting my health at risk...

I am wondering what you all think, can you share what supplements you take and how do you feel about this issue.....

if you don't want to share with everyone spark mail me....I am going to do some more research and find out what is right for me....

Have a healthy day..............
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BRENDA_G50
    Kitt, I started taking "Alive multivitamin-multimineral for Women 50+" after having my PCP read over the ingredients and approve of it. I also still take Vitamin D-3 1000 IU (after I finished taking the RX 50,000 IU because of a vitamin deficiency), CoQ10 100 mg (my doctor told me not to take more that that), and Krill Oil 300 mg/90 Omega-3 (there's no fishy aftertaste).

    I don't add any other vitamins unless my doctor tells me to, or without his approval (since vitamins are not regulated or tested for safety by the FDA). That way I know I'm safe. emoticon
    2011 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    My Primary Care Physician of many years would tell me a good one-a-day vitamin was a good idea but beyond that I was creating expensive urine.

    After reading books on nutritional healing and dealing with my multiple food allergies, I started adding in supplements beyond the daily vitamin. Then, a Naturopathic Doc I saw for one year added more to the list (she sold them to her patients/clients, hmm).

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not advocating Naturopathy for anyone. From personal experience, I've learned there are many practicing Naturopathic Doctors with the patient's best interest in mind and others not so inclined. If exploring this route, do your research before choosing one (my expensive lesson learned from School of Hard Knocks). Depending upon their location in the States, some have much formal education along with personal research and application experiences. Others have a slick business card.

    I've known two people who saw MD's who practiced a combination of conventional medicine along with naturopathic methods -- this combination is great in that causes are sought and solutions go in the order of lifestyle changes including dietary changes, supplementation, prescription meds only if necessary and surgery as a last resort. In these two cases, insurance did not cover any tests/labs/treatments which can make it difficult for most folks to afford (me included).

    I worked with a Registered Nutritionist in 2012 and one of the first things I did using the SP Nutrition Tracker was to create each supplement as a favorite food item and enter every single item listed on the labels. Then I printed these out and combined on a spreadsheet getting totals of each nutrient. What an EYE-OPENER -- I was getting too much of a good thing in some items and we worked together to offset as much as possible with dietary changes. There were mega-doses of some items in my daily vitamin for woman over 50 that became super mega-doses when combined with my food intake.

    Tricky balancing act for each of us attempting to optimize our health. For example, I have had 29 calcium oxalate kidney stones since 2002. Dehydration, foods high in oxalates and excessive Vit C and the wrong balance of calcium are the primary issues that can help in formation of oxalate stones. All of my adult life I've had GI tract issues resulting in malabsorption leading to severe deficiencies primarily in iron, potassium, Vitamin D, and B12. Foods contributing to inflammation cause horrible arthritis flares for me. List of foods I tolerate well is pretty short and gets boring. Main idea of this rambling paragraph is that each of us needs to take our own situations into consideration and not worry about the cookie-cutter recommendations that are abundant. One size does not fit all.

    The Nutritionist I worked with was part of an employee & family wellness program provided by my spouse's employer. She was awesome compared to my other two experiences where I was handed multiple printouts of contradictory information to read and follow. I was sad when the company benefit went to another provider because we brainstormed for solutions. She pointed out that it was impossible to trace every micro-nutrient taken in so know that a balanced diet with variety would likely cover this - DOES NOT HAVE TO BALANCE DAILY - and there are many nutrients in the food not contained on the label. I was relieved to hear this because I am a very literal, anal-retentive (with the hyphen) person, easily stressed if I feel I'm not doing something correctly (personally working on a balance here too between hypervigilance and ambivalence).

    We have a locally-owned, compound pharmacy here that is staffed with nutritional counselors who seem to know their business and are not pushy about selling the products they carry. They field questions in person and over the phone for local callers. The pharmacy used to offer relatively inexpensive blood labwork to check for possible deficiencies that needed addressing. Insurance and pharmaceutical places took away the right to test for anything but cholesterol and blood sugar. Health insurance companies often won't cover these tests either. Also, it is difficult to get a healthcare provider to write the necessary script for the regular labs, even when a statement is signed that the patient takes full responsibility for any costs not covered by insurance.

    The supplement industry is not regulated so not all supplements for the same nutrient are created equal. I put more trust in ones recommended at the local compound pharmacy and Whole Foods (not always the most expensive around). Yet, the Nutritionist pointed out that for some, the less expensive ones at the local grocery store were fine.

    *** Just because a supplement (or food for that matter) is natural, it is not safe for everyone. Supplements are not necessarily free of side-effects. ***

    Prescription meds can sometimes create a need for supplements. I am fortunate to have only 3 ongoing prescriptions -- nasal spray for use for Bi-PAP machine, rescue inhaler, and Epi-Pen. List is short as I've had serious allergic reactions to many prescriptions over the years.

    A reference that I use frequently is "Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements" by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. My copy is the 4th edition, 2006 -- first one I had was falling apart from heavy use.

    Wow, got carried away in commenting. Started to delete but decided not to. Was not my original intention to write a Blog in your comment section -- will police myself more in the future -- sorry for the hijack job!

    Now to answer your question, here are my supplements:

    PB 8 Pro-biotic acidophilus (to help control 'gut' flora)
    D3 - liquid, 1 drop daily (environmental allergies keep me inside too much, away from natural D from the sun; Verilux lamp worsened cataracts which are inoperable due to another eye condition)
    B-12 - sublingual tablets (did injections for a long time; body wasn't absorbing from food)
    I-Caps, A-Reds formula (per Opthamologist)
    Potassium if missed getting much in diet; this one is tricky as too much can damage your kidneys
    Caltrate Calcium & Vit D 600+D Plus Minerals
    CoQ10 tablet (per Cardiologist)
    Flax seeds in my morning NutriBlast for those Omega's

    Must get back to the basics of weighing & measuring & tracking to apply all this accumulated knowledge!

    2012 days ago
    A lot of varied opinions out there on supplements. Some say that most of them pass through your body without absorbing. For awhile, I was taking the oil filled capsules because your body absorbs them better; but haven't found them in the 50+ category. A nutritionist I was working with for awhile recommended a multi-vitamin. She liked to take hers in the afternoon for an energy boost she got. She says if we were to eat all the foods we should to get all the nutrients we really should have, we couldn't eat everything - can't confirm it - just repeating it. Dr Oz encourages a multi vitamin in the You on a Diet book I am just reading (in fact recommends splitting it and taking it twice a day). I would like to do that, but don't want to take mine in the evening because it keeps me awake - yes. It does. Our doctor encourages a multi-vitamin for my husband and I and has prescribed Vitamin D for my husband in addition. She encouraged me to take it - I'm just within acceptable range, but I promised I would try to get outside more . . . emoticon My Dad's doctor prescribed Vit D for him as well - seems it is the new "must have." My doctor wants me to take omega 3 supplements, but I keep putting it off. I thought it was interesting that both times after my husband's surgeries, his surgeons actually prescribed a multi-vitamin along with his regular meds.

    I agree that real foods are the best ways to get vitamins and minerals, and although I try to eat a balance and variety, I don't have time to balance my eating so that I get the right balance of everything that I should have. And when I track my food in SP, I notice that I am often lower on many of the vitamins than SP recommends, even though I have eaten a well balanced and healthy menu for the day. So I cover myself with a good multi vitamin for my age group. But that's about it. I'm not, a big fan of a lot of the supplements that are supposed to be the cure all/be all. I would consider additional supplements if I was found deficient in something by my doctor, or if continued tracking of my food on SP showed that I am not getting enough of a particular vitamin or mineral.

    Oh, dear - I have written a book. I didn't realize I had written so much
    2012 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/14/2014 9:29:05 PM
    Ah, we have this discussion quite frequently.
    I think it's been proven sufficiently that the best sources for vitamins and minerals are real foods: veggies and fruits.. From what I have read, uptake for supplements is only partial.
    A friend of mine has looked into this supplement issue quite extensively and has decided to take a daily multi, krill oil, D and a bunch of others which made sense to him.
    Myself - I'm awful at taking supplements! I forget! Bought a bottle of multi vitamins last weekend end vowed to finish it. Curious to find out if I notice any benefit. My blood work is all good, but of course there is more to us than tests can show, and a supplement could very well fill in the gaps. I'm thinking unless you overdose, which is hard to do with a multi, it can't hurt.
    2012 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/14/2014 8:22:56 PM
    I have mixed feelings about this. It's simply tragic the number of people in this country with nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies may not lead to a statistically significant shorter lifespan, but they do affect quality of life in a big way. Some forms of depression, neuropathies, vision problems, skin diseases, sleep disturbances may all be based in nutrition. I don't think random self-administered supplements are the solution. I also don't think doctors are generally well-versed in nutrition. Pharmaceutical companies don't help with their mis-information and scare tactics. There are no easy answers here. I'm working to eat as cleanly as possible, but I'm still suffering from mineral deficiencies. It's hard work, but I haven't given up finding the optimal balance of real food.
    2012 days ago
    MMMmmm I am suppose to take stuff but I never do.

    Bad on me.

    2012 days ago
  • SHARON10002
    I take calcium, Vitamin D, and a multi-vitamin; DH takes A B-Complex Vitamin (for stress), and Omega 3 Gold Fish Oils, which I buy from Amazon. I like the Nutrigold Series of Vitamins on Amazon. They are exceptionally pure, and so I feel we are getting the most of the vitamin from a non-food source.
    2012 days ago
    Kitt, I also take Vitamin D because I am always deficient in it and by large numbers. I was taking Niacin, but I decided I was wasting my money on it. Jim takes Fish Oil, but I don't because of too many discouraging reports on it, but he is convinced that he needs to take it. I think that every person has to be well informed and then make choices based on what your doctor recommends for you.
    2012 days ago
    I take vitamin D, calcium and multivitamin. Also Glucosomine Chondroitin, all my doctor's orders.
    2012 days ago
    I've never taken supplements until recently. My podiatrist put me on a B vitamin supplement that has B6, B12, and one other ingredient in it. It's a prescription supplement. It's suppose to help the neuropathy in my feet.
    2012 days ago
    i take calcium & Vitamin D
    2012 days ago
    I take vitamin D as well due to my recent blood work show I'm deficient.
    emoticon for sharing emoticon
    2012 days ago
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