What Supplements are Most Popular and Why?

Recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the CDC reveals that multivitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 supplements are the most popular options. As people age, they often add collagen peptides to their supplement routine in hopes of maintaining healthy hair, nails, bones, and joints. However, studies have not shown any major risks or benefits of taking collagen, and experts suggest that there are better ways to protect collagen production. Eating less sugar, stopping smoking, reducing sun exposure, and eating protein-rich foods such as bone broth, dairy products, legumes, meats, fish, nuts, and leafy greens may be a more reliable option for increasing collagen. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has become popular for helping treat many health problems including weight control, proper digestion, and blood sugar levels.

Drinking ACV is not always attractive which is why supplements and gummies have become one of the favorite and easiest methods to consume. While many of the benefits are not supported by research and ACV may interact with certain medications such as insulin and diuretics, ACV gummies seem safer than drinking plain apple cider vinegar which can burn the esophagus and destroy tooth enamel when taken in excess. Probiotics are one of the best-selling supplements on Amazon but it can be difficult to understand which type to buy. Each brand offers different probiotic strains some of which include prebiotics and it's hard to know how many billions of colony forming units (CFUs) you really need. People often take probiotics to help with digestive problems, urinary tract infections, and fungal infections and studies have shown that probiotics can be beneficial for these health problems with few risks. Vitamin D3 is a popular supplement that supports tooth and bone health, muscle function, and a strong immune system.

These supplements also claim to provide the same biologically active form of vitamin D that you get from sun exposure but without the harmful UVB rays. There aren't many foods that provide D3 so supplements are a good option but the main problem with taking vitamin D3 supplements is toxicity which can lead to irregular heartbeats, lack of appetite, and weight loss. It is recommended that people take no more than 4,000 IU per day. The American Heart Association has been recommending omega-3 supplements for decades and fish oil capsules are one of the best-selling supplements. They are said to provide EPA and DHA essential fatty acids that promote heart, brain, eye, and immune system health.

There have been many studies to support this claim but new research includes a more specific recommendation to take a pure EPA supplement or one that has more EPA than DHA. When hair loss is a problem people turn to biotin supplements to support new hair growth. Biotin also helps strengthen nails and bones but one of the unexpected effects of taking biotin that your patients may not be aware of is that it not only causes more hair to grow on their heads but it also increases hair growth throughout the body. Some experts recommend limiting biotin intake to 10 mg per day as excessive biotin has been shown to affect thyroid function. As a doctor it's wise to stay on top of the popular supplements your patients use to help them make informed decisions about what to buy and how supplements may interact with other medications. The downside is that many people aren't fully aware of the effects of these over-the-counter supplements and federal regulations aren't as strict for these types of products. Expect to see supplements containing ingredients such as zinc, selenium, B vitamins, vitamins C and D as well as alternative health remedies such as elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, turmeric, and ginger.

The web community should be aware that dietary supplements cannot replace a balanced diet and physical activity. Magnesium supplements have minimal side effects and many benefits including increased energy, better sleep, better digestion, and support for heart and bone health. While the skin naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun concerns about ultraviolet (UV) rays and regional restrictions on sunlight have led many consumers to take vitamin D supplements. There are many commercial reports online about the global market for dietary supplements but access to them is paid and the authors do not disclose the methodology of the reports. It is important to note that the name “protein” can describe the category of dietary supplements or one of the included GT topics that represent the ingredients. We speculate that the increased interest in certain dietary supplements could be associated with the geographical distribution of herbal supplements (such as aloe vera or mangosteen) or high altitude (as is the case with the great popularity of vitamin D in Norway). As a dietitian I expect to see positive changes in the supplement industry toward a more comprehensive evidence-based approach.

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