In our increasingly health-conscious society, supplements of essential vitamins and minerals are touted as a way to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients and improve your health. The truth is that a well-balanced, healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein should be sufficient enough for most.
In particular, here are five supplements you really do not need to take, unless you have a special condition and are directed to by your doctor. Supplements can have bad interactions with other drugs, too, so never take them without consulting your physician first.
Consuming too much potassium can cause stomach troubles like nausea and diarrhea. If you take too much potassium at one time, it can lead to a condition called hyperkalemia, which can cause a slowed heart rate, severe stomach pain, muscle weakness, and a dangerously abnormal heartbeat, and it can lead to kidney failure. You should be able to get enough potassium from the foods you eat and should not require a supplement.
Too much vitamin A can cause serious side effects. If you take too much vitamin A, you can experience headaches, liver damage, and a reduction in bone strength. It can also cause birth defects. If you take a blood thinner, vitamin A can decrease its effectiveness.
Too much iron can damage your liver and other organs in your body. Too much iron can also cause nausea, constipation, and vomiting. Some studies have shown that women who take iron supplements have an increased risk of earlier death. Iron overdoses can be fatal, especially in children. Of course, some people may have a severe iron deficiency and require a supplement, but it should be regulated by their doctor. Adults should not consume more than 45mg of iron per day, and you can get enough from eating foods that contain iron or are iron-fortified.
Weight Loss Supplements
Certain supplements are said to aid in weight loss by speeding up your metabolism. There are many different types of supplements that might be said to aid in weight loss, and some of them are St. John’s wort, chromia, caffeine, L-carnitine, ginseng, and guar gum. Studies have shown that supplements are not effective in increasing weight loss, and in some cases they can do more harm than good. For example, St. John’s wort can reduce the effectiveness of other drugs, such as antidepressants or birth control. You simply do not need to – and shouldn’t – take supplements for weight loss purposes.
Muscle-building supplements are very popular, and some of the most popular include whey protein, casein protein, and nitric oxide supplements. The truth is that most of these muscle-building supplements are ineffective, and the health benefit claims in marketing are often grossly exaggerated. For example, nitric oxide is supposed to help by increasing blood flow to your body, but there are plenty of ways to boost blood flow naturally. Eating more protein and increasing and varying your workouts is what will give you results. Don’t waste money on these expensive supplements.
Caleb Grant is a freelance writer from Chicago. He wrote about effective weight loss tips after trying a diet and vitamins.