Supplements can be a great way to add nutrients to your diet and boost your health. For example, coconut oil pills are a great natural anti-inflammatory, a vitamin D supplement can boost your mood in the winter, and zinc may be able to help you fight a cold.
However, just because you can run to your local pharmacy and stock up on supplements doesn't mean you should.
Supplements can have positive effects on the body, but they can also negatively affect your health. That's why it's important to ask your doctor these four questions before you decide to add a supplement to your daily routine.
What Supplements Should You Consider?
At your next appointment, ask your doctor if there are any supplements they would recommend. You might find that your doctor recommends an omega-3 fatty acid, if you have heart disease, or probiotics, if you have reduced immune function.
What Supplements Should You Avoid?
It's a good idea to talk with your doctor about the supplements you should consider, but it's even more important to ask your doctor what supplements you should avoid, if you're planning on adding supplements to your daily routine.
Some supplements your doctor is likely not to recommend include:
- Sexual enhancement, body building, and weight loss pills because they are most likely to contain dangerous substances.
- Antioxidants, because they have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, such as lung cancer in male smokers.
- Vitamin E, because studies have shown that it is linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer in men.
In addition, your doctor will likely have personalized recommendations based on the medications you take. For example, if you take a blood thinner, you may discover that your doctor doesn't recommend an omega-3 fatty acid supplement after all.
How Should You Take Your Supplements?
Taking a supplement can surprisingly mean more than just popping a pill in your mouth. Some supplements are useless unless you take them with other nutrients. For example, vitamin D makes calcium and magnesium easier to absorb, so they should be taken together.
Your doctor can also provide you with ideas for getting more nutrients in your diet without pills. You may find this is the case when you ask about multivitamins. Your doctor may refer you to a dietician to help you learn how to balance your diet instead of recommending a multivitamin.
Where Should You Get Your Supplements?
Your doctor can help you figure out where to get your supplements too! They may know of an online retailer that offers discount prices, they may refer you to a pharmacist, or they may be able to recommend certain brands that are known for their quality ingredients.
The right supplement can do wonders for your health, but the wrong supplement can be detrimental to your health. Make sure you get the right supplement for your body by asking your doctor these four questions before you fill your medicine cabinet with vitamins.