Our bodies need certain nutrients to function properly, and while it is possible to get these nutrients from food, many people turn to supplements to make sure they are getting enough. Supplements can be beneficial, but it is important to understand the risks associated with them. In this article, we will explore the most popular supplements in the US, their benefits, and their potential risks.Vitamin D is one of the most popular supplements in the US. Our bodies need vitamin D for a variety of functions, including bone health and immune system support.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, so many people turn to supplements. The form known as vitamin D3 is generally recommended, but D2 is also effective; for best results, take your vitamin D along with a meal that contains a little fat. If you want to make sure you need this supplement, order a blood test; levels of at least 30 nanograms per milliliter are considered the best.Vitamin B12 is another popular supplement. It is found only in animal foods, so strict vegetarians may need supplements.
In addition, many older people don't produce enough of the stomach acid needed to release vitamin B12 from animal foods, so it can be absorbed. But vitamin B12 is also added to fortified grain products and other foods, and this synthetic B12 is easy to absorb even without stomach acid. That means a single bowl of cereal can provide a RDA of 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day. Still, if your consumption of fortified grains is erratic, a vitamin B12 supplement is reasonable.Folate fortification has alleviated the problem of birth defects, but obstetricians continue to recommend supplements for women who are trying to conceive or who are already pregnant.
Most people benefit from vitamin D, many from fiber, and some from fish oil.Coconut oil is another popular supplement that has been gaining attention in recent years. Our bodies prefer to burn medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil as energy, rather than store them as fat. A classic study of 30 men in the journal Pharmacology found that those who consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day shrank their waists by an average of 1.1 inches in a month. You can use coconut oil almost anywhere you would use butter for eggs or sautées, to make healthier pancakes, or in a smoothie to burn your belly.Green tea is another popular supplement that has been linked to weight loss.
In one study, participants who combined the daily habit of four to five cups of green tea a day with a 25-minute workout for 12 weeks lost an average of two pounds more than those who don't drink tea. It is the power of the unique catechins found in green tea that can destroy adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then accelerating the liver's ability to convert that fat into energy.Psyllium is another popular supplement used for its fiber content. If you need supplemental fiber, consider psyllium, which has the added benefit of lowering cholesterol levels.Unfortunately, in most cases scientific research on supplements has not been able to confirm our hopes, although there are exceptions. Many people take supplements in the belief that they will preserve health or prevent disease; many others use supplements in an attempt to treat specific conditions that have already developed.It's important to remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and can have adverse drug interactions if taken without medical supervision or monitoring.
Therefore, it's important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements and make sure you understand all potential risks associated with them.In conclusion, while there are some benefits associated with taking certain supplements, it's important to understand all potential risks before taking them. Talk to your doctor about any supplements you are considering taking and make sure you understand all potential risks associated with them.