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How to Determine What Health Supplements You Need


How to Determine What Health Supplements You Need

The best way to assure proper nutrition is to eat a healthy diet. However, since this is often difficult to do, many people take supplements to try to meet nutritional guidelines. In order to determine what health supplements might offer the most benefits, there are several factors to consider, such as age, lifestyle, diet and risk factors associated with some diets. Speaking with a health care provider may give you further insight into choosing the right supplements.
  1. First: Who needs them

    People who do not drink milk, such as vegans and people with allergies to dairy, should take a vitamin D and/or a calcium supplement. Women who are pregnant or nursing frequently need extra iron and folic acid for their babies' health. Women and men over age 50 need additional vitamin D and vitamin B-12 in their diets. People who smoke need extra vitamin C in their diets. Vegans and vegetarians may require additional vitamin B-12 and extra vitamin D and calcium, although a good vegetarian diet is frequently nutritionally sound.

  2. Second: Negative interactions with other drugs

    It is possible for many health supplements to interact negatively with other drugs and cause serious side effects; for this reason, it is recommended that individuals consult a physician prior to taking health supplements. Some supplements can have dangerous interactions when used in combination with other drugs. For example, the prescription drug Coumadin is a blood thinner, and so are the herbal supplement gingko biloba, vitamin E and aspirin. Taken together, this could increase the potential for internal bleeding. St. John’s Wort may lower the effectiveness of some prescription drugs such as those for depression, seizures, heart disease, birth control and some cancers. It also greatly reduces the effectiveness of some HIV medications when taken in combination.

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