The Pros and Cons of Using Supplements

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We’re not big into supplements beyond your everyday multivitamin, but over the past few years I’ve definitely added more to my daily regimen. Each day I take a vitamin D, prenatal vitamin, fish oil and spirulina supplement. I eat a pretty healthy diet, but I like the peace of mind knowing that my body is getting what it needs every day just in case I don’t eat optimally (and, heck, who eats optimally all the time, anywho?). It’s not like I’m taking the type of stuff you’d see recommended in a bodybuilding forum or any weight-loss supplements, rather it’s the stuff that has good research behind it.

If you’re looking to add some supplements to your diet—or you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should—we’ve put a list together of a few of the pros and cons of using supplements that you should consider!

Pros of Using Supplements

1. Added nutrition. Whether it’s needing extra calcium, iron, vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids in your diet (just a few things many women are low in), supplementation can be an easy way to bump up your vitamin intake.

2. Some research backs up supplementation usage. While there is a lot of conflicting research in this area, there are studies that support the use of supplements, and most nutritionists and doctors do recommend at least a multivitamin.

3. Healthy eating insurance. Like I said earlier, no one eats a perfectly healthy diet all the time (and it’s not like nutrition experts can even agree on what that might be!), so supplements like a multivitamin can be a great way to make sure you’re getting the essential amounts of vitamins and minerals—no matter how good or not-so-good your diet is.

supplementsCons of Using Supplements

1. They’re not regulated. Supplements are not regulated like medicine is, so the FDA does not have to approve them before they hit the shelves. While the government can—and has—removed supplements for being unsafe, that’s generally after they’ve already been on the market. Pretty scary if you think about it!

2. They can be expensive. You just have to take a walk down the supplement aisle in any store to see that supplements aren’t cheap. In varying doses, you can easily pay upwards of $1 a pill, depending on what you’re buying. And many times, the more quality supplements are the most expensive.

3. Supplements aren’t whole foods. There’s so much that we don’t know about food and nutrition—it’s a complex area of study! Many times researchers will think one specific vitamin or mineral boosts health, when really it’s when it’s combined with something else in the food (or lots of other things) that makes it really beneficial. Bottom line, it’s hard to beat Mother Nature at her own game!

Our top recommendation? If you do decide to take supplements, talk to your doctor about it first (to make sure it doesn’t interact with anything else and is right for you) and always buy from a trusted, quality manufacturer. Also, don’t use supplements as an excuse to eat poorly—fresh, whole foods are always best!

Do you take supplements? What kinds? Do they freak you out? Tell us! —Jenn

 

This was a featured article provided by Predator Nutrition. All photos used were provided courtesy of Photostock and you can get more images like this from them here.



Comments

  1. Sophia says

    I have some conflicting thoughts on supplements as well. At the moment I’m not taking anything, because I believe my diet is providing everything I need to keep me fit and healthy. I have some evidence to back up my theory – its winter and its cold (albeit England cold, so mostly just damp and chilly!) but I haven’t had a cold at all (yet, *crosses fingers*) and I’m finding I don’t need to moisturise my skin more than once or twice a week as everything is still soft and comfortable. I put this down to the addition of spirulina, wheatgrass and milled flaxseed to my green veg juice and my morning oats. Oh and my morning green veg juice helps a whole heap as well. I also avoid supplements because I really worry about all the other ‘stuff’ they put in the pills, like fillers or coatings, and what effect they might have on my otherwise reasonably balanced diet and body. What I will occasionally do however, is take a high dose vit c tablet, say 200% RDA, if I’m heading into London and I know I’m going to be on public transport a lot (the tube in particular, its so germy down there!). If that’s the case I might take the vit c tablet the day before to help boost my immunity. I probably do that once a month, so very rarely.

    Otherwise, I rely on my diet and lots of fresh air to keep me healthy.

  2. Susan Chronister says

    I totally agree that eating healthy is much better than artificial supplementation. I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of or looked into Juice Plus+? Juice Plus+ is whole food – a good nutritious variety of fruits, vegetables, grapes and berries, not abnormally large concentrations of any one thing – organically grown, juiced down, dehydrated and put into capsules! A supplement in that it is in capsule form, but whole food. It has a food label, not a supplement label. The good nutrition we all know we should eat, but very few of us do eat it – especially on a daily basis. There have also been numerous clinical studies on Juice Plus+ (not just on the ingredients in Juice Plus) that have been published in numerous nutritional journals proving nutritional benefit to taking Juice Plus+. I have been taking Juice Plus+ for over 5 years and feel it has greatly helped my nutrition. From reading your comments on supplementation and healthy eating, it sounds like something you may be interested it. Just wondering if you’ve ever looked into it.

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