Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins and minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

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    You can consider taking a probiotic if you're taking antibiotics. The only exception is if you're taking antibiotics for infections in your colon or bowels. 
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Dr. Carolyn Brockington - What are the health concerns about "smart drug" brain supplements?
    The long-term effects and potential drug interactions of "smart drug" brain supplements are not yet known, so that is cause for some concern. Watch me explain some factors that make her wary of these supplements.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Dr. Carolyn Brockington - What are "smart drug" brain supplements?
    "Smart drug" brain supplements contain collections of compounds that are supposed to improve the health and functioning of the brain. Watch me explain how these supplements work, and discuss some health concerns.
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    The first thing to be aware of is that vitamins and supplements are considered food, not medicines, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So they're not closely regulated. With vitamins, more is not better. You should be confident that you're taking a vitamin you have a deficiency in. Also, be sure you're taking a vitamin that is what it claims to be and doesn't contain harmful additives.
     
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    Vitamins and supplements are considered foods, not medicines, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So they're not closely regulated. Unfortunately, there is no way to be sure your vitamins are of high quality. You can improve the chances of getting vitamins that contain what they claim to contain and don't contain harmful substances by checking for the following seals on the label: NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeia or Consumer Lab. It's also safer to buy from U.S. companies and companies that have brand recognition.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    Some people are big fans of refrigerated probiotics. But there are freeze-dried versions that are shelf stable, and you can use those as well. The perceived benefit of refrigerated probiotics is that the organisms are already viable when you buy the product versus having to use your system to make the freeze-dried versions become more viable.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    You should consider taking a probiotic if you've been on a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria in the body indiscriminately, which means that they take away your good bacteria as well as your not-so-good bacteria. In that case, it helps to reintroduce good bacteria into your gut by taking a probiotic.

    Also, if you've been traveling and eating foods that are different than you're used to, you should take a probiotic. Food travels through the gastrointestinal tract and can carry all sorts of microbes. Unfortunately, this can cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract, but a probiotic can counter that. In addition, if you've had a cold or the flu, it's a good time to go on a probiotic to help boost your immune system.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    Probiotics are great at regulating not only the gastrointestinal tract but also helping the immune system. About 70% of the immune system is located in the gut. So if you take care of your gut, you’re helping to take care of your immune system. This helps to keep you from getting sick.
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    Older women can boost strength and muscle mass significantly by taking creatine. A study found that women over 60 who took 20 grams (g) of creatine every day for five days and then 5 g a day afterward gained muscle mass in their arms and legs. They also increased their strength and mobility.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    There is a lot of misleading information that says detoxifiers are needed for cleansing organs. Some say that common problems like fatigue can be caused from “toxic overload,” a buildup of everyday pollutants. This toxic-overload theory is largely unproven. The liver, for instance, is the body’s filter. Its main role is to remove toxins from our bodies.

    Assuming the liver is functioning normally and you have not been abusing alcohol or drugs (prescribed, over the counter, or street), the liver will work just fine at removing toxins like alcohol from the body without any supplements, fasts or special foods. The same is true for other organs, in that no supplement, fast or special food will detoxify the colon or kidneys.

    There are many supplements on the market that claim to detoxify some organ in the body. The supplement labeling act does not allow a "detox" health claim. Unfortunately, people working in health food stores often make recommendations without any basis on current research or knowledge of nutrition.