WELLNESS

NAVIGATING THE SUPPLEMENT JUNGLE: EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T

Navigating the Health Maze: Expert Insights and Warnings for Smart Supplement Choices

03.01.2024
BY YUKE RATNA
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In an era where wellness trends dominate social media feeds and health-conscious consumers seek the next miracle fix, the world of supplements continues to expand. From multivitamins to trendy gummies, the shelves are stocked with promises of improved health. However, experts have weighed in on some popular choices, shedding light on what's effective and what might be better left on the shelf.

Biotin and Collagen - Natural Sources Trump Supplements

Experts caution against the excessive consumption of biotin and collagen supplements for hair, skin, and nails. Research indicates that these supplements often contain more biotin than necessary, potentially interfering with crucial test results. Dr. Rebecca Hartman from Harvard Medical School recommends obtaining these nutrients through a balanced diet, emphasizing biotin-rich foods like beans and dairy, especially egg yolks.

Magnesium Supplements and Sleep - A Myth Busted

Contrary to popular belief, magnesium supplements may not be the sleep aid they're often touted to be. Licensed clinical psychologist Shelby Harris warns that unless there's a magnesium deficiency, these supplements won't improve sleep and could lead to adverse effects. Instead, Harris recommends incorporating magnesium-rich foods like spinach, peanut butter, and bananas into one's diet.

Berberine for Weight Loss - A Natural Alternative?

Berberine, hailed as "nature's Ozempic" on social media, may aid in weight loss by lowering blood sugar levels, according to Dr. Neil Paulvin. However, it falls short of Ozempic's effectiveness, prompting a reminder that natural methods, such as a balanced diet, remain crucial for sustainable weight management.

Sea Moss - A Spoonful for Health

Samar Kullab, a registered dietitian nutritionist, advocates for the consumption of sea moss for its nutrient density. A daily spoonful of sea moss gel is believed to contribute to reduced inflammation, improved thyroid function, heart health, and gut health. However, individuals with thyroid issues should exercise caution.

Multivitamins - Not a Necessity for Everyone

While multivitamins are a staple for some, Dr. Elizabeth Ko suggests that those with a balanced diet might not need them. A Mediterranean diet rich in beans, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables can often provide the necessary nutrients. Exceptions include vegans, vegetarians, individuals with stomach issues, or nutrient deficiencies.

Taurine - Promising but Unproven for Humans

Taurine, an amino acid showing promise for anti-aging effects, has demonstrated longevity benefits in mice. However, Neil Paulvin emphasizes that human testing is essential before considering it a viable supplement. He underscores that exercise, optimal sleep, and circadian rhythm are paramount for anti-aging benefits.

Vitamin C and D Supplements - Not a Universal Immunity Boost

Dr. Michael Ben-Aderet stresses that while vitamin C and D supplements support the immune system, they are most beneficial for individuals with deficiencies. A healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, exercise, sufficient sleep, and vaccinations, remains the key to overall immunity.

Turmeric Supplements - Look for Curcumin with a Boost

The efficacy of turmeric supplements depends on curcumin content, with most turmeric supplements containing a modest percentage. Dr. Elizabeth Ko recommends opting for curcumin supplements, ideally paired with black pepper and healthy fats like yogurt for enhanced absorption.

Ashwagandha - A Stress-Relief Staple

Ashwagandha, an ancient remedy, has proven benefits for stress relief and anxiety management, according to Dr. Meena Makhijani. However, she advises intermittent breaks from its consumption for optimal effectiveness.

Supplement Buying Caution - Trust, Test, and Verify

Experts unanimously caution that the supplement industry lacks strict FDA regulation. Dr. Hartman emphasizes the importance of verifying active ingredients, evidence supporting product claims, company trustworthiness, third-party testing, and consultation with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement. As consumers navigate the supplement jungle, these guidelines serve as a compass to make informed choices for their health and well-being.

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