Do you think nutritional supplements are worth the hype? Can they really make a difference in your health? Some “experts” will tell you to skip taking your vitamins, to forgo fish oil, and leave the supplements on the shelf.
A 2015 survey shows almost 7 out of 10 Americans take dietary supplements. Thanks to the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of 1994, Americans have access to quality dietary supplements that don’t exist even in many other developed countries. Some avid users of dietary supplements end up with a breakfast table full of vitamin, mineral, and herbal capsules.
But, are people being oversold on supplements? Are supplements being overhyped?
The science says no. In the face of advancing age, high-calorie malnutrition, metabolic issues, bad health habits, and environmental toxins, it doesn’t take a PhD to understand dietary supplements are the counterbalance to a lifestyle filled with poor nutrition. In fact, a review of studies into the dangers of oxidative stress on the body suggests that free radical damage may be at the heart of a lot of what ails us. Supplemental antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, curcumin, and resveratrol really can make a positive impact on our health.
So, where’s the evidence? Do you really need to take fish oil, coenzyme Q10, vitamin D—some of most commonly used dietary supplements?
The quick answer is that the combination of these nutrients is aggregately more powerful than they are singularly.
Let’s examine a problem that is not addressed at the doctor’s office: brain shrinkage with advancing age. Your brain is shrinking, and you initially don’t experience any symptoms as this shrinkage progresses. Studies show supplemental B vitamins can have an effect at slowing brain atrophy in people with elevated homocysteine levels. However, when B-Vitamins are combined with omega-3 fish oil, particularly the DHA component of fish oil, an even greater level of positive effect was achieved.
Now let’s take a look at fatty liver—a condition that affects approximately 35% of American adults—for which there is no proven treatment. Here again, dietary supplements shine in regard to promotion of liver health: omega-3 fish oil, vitamin E, vitamin D, coenzyme Q10 are on a list of nutrients that clean up the liver. Their combination accelerates restoration of liver health.
And then there is magnesium, an essential mineral. Magnesium improves the body’s utilization of vitamin D. Vitamin B1 works in tandem with magnesium. These nutrients don’t just work additively, they work synergistically.
A well formulated multi-ingredient supplement is some of the best health insurance one can buy. Each individual nutrient purchased alone would add up to a small fortune foolishly being spent every day, whereas when combined into a well-balanced formula, it makes a wise choice that is very economical.