Nearly half of all U.S. adults take dietary or herbal supplements ranging from multivitamins to fish oil and from calcium to iron. When used correctly to address a vitamin or mineral imbalance or deficiency, these supplements can do wonders to help you be your healthiest. Studies are showing, however, that people are increasingly taking the wrong supplements or are using them incorrectly which may cause an increase in liver damage. And research shows that supplements that promote weight loss or bodybuilding are among the most common not being used correctly.
Many of you can probably recall that questionnaire you received at your doctor’s office inquiring whether you take any dietary supplements. If you are like most people, you do not include all the supplements or vitamins you take, and might jot down a few easy ones like vitamin C even if you take others.
Recently, a close relative told me he did some bloodwork and his zinc levels “came back low.” Since I knew very little about zinc except that zinc was somehow involved in the immune system, I did some research to figure out whether he had cause for concern. As a health care attorney, research comes naturally to me, but more importantly, as a health care consumer, I believe it is important for me to be well-informed about nutrition and health issues. So, here is some of the information I found out about zinc.
Calcium is a very important mineral for the body. As you know, it keeps bones and teeth strong, but it does other helpful things as well. For example, calcium plays an essential role in blood clotting, muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission. Studies further show that calcium plays a role in blood vessel contraction and dilation, which affect blood pressure. Women, in particular, need sufficient calcium to prevent osteoporosis, especially after menopause.
“B12 injections given here!” Doctor’s offices, chiropractic centers and other wellness-focused operations love to advertise B12. And why not? It’s profitable, and patients swear it gives them an “energy boost.” But while a “quick fix” for irritability or fatigue might be tempting, the notion of B12 as a cure-all, and a fast one at that, has a shaky foundation.
“Take some vitamin C.” You’ve probably heard it since you can remember, since your very first cold. As a kid, you probably downed glasses of orange juice at the first sign of the sniffles under your mother’s watchful eye. Later, you graduated to those popular powdered vitamin C drinks, hoping a sudden assault of extra vitamin C would make viruses retreat. But does it work?
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