The Supplement Game

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Wondering what Supplements you need each day...and which ones you don't? This article, based on research found on numerous Health related websites, answers that question.

Submitted: November 11, 2016

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Submitted: November 11, 2016



A Guide to What You Need and How You Should Get It

The Supplement and Vitamin business is booming….it seems like everywhere you turn you see an ad or article claiming that this supplement or that is the absolute thing one you need to add to your diet…today! There are literally thousands of different supplements out there by hundreds of different brands…how are you supposed to know which product you should be taking?

Which ones actually help and which ones are just a waste of your time and money?

The truth is one report isn’t enough to give you all those answers. I recommend doing your due diligence on any product you think about putting in your body. In today's Search Engine driven age, you have at your disposal the means to adequately research just about anything. Or, you can always check with your doctor; they generally are on top of the business and will usually provide you with the best advice.

But, there are certain vitamins and minerals your body needs to have in its diet to stay healthy. Many of those vitamins are also the key in preventing many of the health issues facing people today like some cancers and heart disease.  And there have been many studies on the food containing these vitamins and minerals, but not necessarily the supplements themselves. This report is going to shed a little light on those supplements.

But first, you need to know that there is no shortcut to having a healthy diet. In fact, if you eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fortified food, you're probably already getting all you need. But supplements do offer an easy, just-in-case way of ensuring you are getting what you need.  

Also, I need to do a quick disclaimer. Some specific health conditions may require specific supplements. For example, if you suffer from heart disease, your doctor may tell you to increase your intake of fish oils. This report will only cover the basics; if you do suffer from a specific health issue or have specific health questions, please consult your doctor.

Ok… let’s get started. What do you need? Here's a quick guide to which vitamins and minerals are the most beneficial what they can do for you.



Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and green peppers, among other foods, this antioxidant is converted in the body to vitamin A and is important for healthy vision, a functioning immune system, and good skin. But the evidence isn't really there to recommend it for staving off cancer. In fact, a 2004 study found that supplements may actually raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Bottom line: Skip the supplements if you're a smoker, and try to get your beta-carotene from fruits and veggies, whether you smoke or not.



This one’s a gimme. We’re all taught from a small age that our bodies need calcium—mostly found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese—to maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis. Don’t skimp on this one.

Bottom line: Supplements aren't a bad idea if you hate dairy (and can eat only so much kale and canned sardines), but you may want to skip them if you're prone to kidney stones or are a female over 70. A 2010 report linked supplements to heart-attack risk in older postmenopausal women. If you decide to go with supplements, don't take more than 500 milligrams at a time, and pair them with vitamin D to improve calcium absorption.


Folic acid

Folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida in babies, is found in fortified breakfast cereal, dark green vegetables, legumes, citrus fruit juice, bread, and pasta.

Bottom line: Getting 400 micrograms a day of this B vitamin, and 600 if you are pregnant or lactating, is a no-brainer. That amount should come from food, supplements, or both, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The jury's still out as to whether folate combats cancer, heart disease, or mental illness.



You may not love the foods highest in iron (liver and other organ meats), but the mineral is critical for the proper functioning of red blood cells and, therefore, the prevention of anemia. And you can get it from other sources such as Kidney beans, Potatoes, Almonds, and Oats just to name a few. But, meat by far has the highest concentration of the much needed mineral.

Bottom line: Try to get iron from dietary sources, which include lean meats, seafood, nuts, and green, leafy vegetables. However, you may need a supplement if you're anemic, or your doctor might prescribe them before surgery, says Jessica Anderson, a registered dietitian with the Coastal Bend Health Education Center, at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in Corpus Christi. Women, especially those who are pregnant or menstruating, might also benefit.


A Good Multivitamin

There is limited evidence that multivitamins may help prevent breast cancer, and an NIH panel in 2006 wasn't convinced that popping the pills was worth it. Neither is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which said the only benefit could be to reduce cancer risk in people with poor nutrition. And a large 2009 study failed to find any beneficial effects of the vitamins for cancer or deaths among postmenopausal women.

Bottom line: Multivitamins aren't a bad idea if you're on the go. But don't expect major lifesaving benefits from these little guys. As stated earlier, nothing can really replace a good diet and most of the things found in Multivitamins can be found in food. The others, you don’t need.



Potassium is another mineral that we’ve all been taught that we need. It can lower blood pressure, even out irregular heart rhythms, and counteract the effects of too much sodium. It's found in bananas, raisins, leafy greens, oranges, and milk.

Bottom line: Consider a supplement if you're taking potassium-depleting diuretics for a heart condition, or if you're African American, a group that's at higher risk for hypertension and heart disease. Keep in mind that too much potassium can be harmful to older people and people with kidney disease.


Vitamin C

This is the king of supplements based on what we were all told growing up. But, this much-touted cure-all, found in citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, and green peppers, just doesn't make the grade when it comes to common-cold prevention. One study did suggest that taking Vitamin C regularly might reduce the length of a cold by a day. So there is that; a shorter cold is a better cold.

Bottom line: Try to get enough vitamin C through your diet. It's fine to take a supplement, especially if you're a smoker or nonsmoker who is often exposed to secondhand smoke. But there seems to be little point in upping your intake to combat sniffling and coughing.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, is necessary for bone health. But, it's actually mostly accessible through sun exposure… not food. Too little vitamin D can contribute to osteoporosis and rickets in children. Some evidence suggests that the vitamin may reduce the risk of Type 1 and 2 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis, but the jury's still out on these benefits.

Bottom line: Even though very little sun is needed to get your quota of vitamin D, and some foods are fortified with it, deficiencies aren't unusual. Supplements might be a good idea, especially if you don't have much sun exposure, are over 50, or have dark skin.


Vitamin E

Once upon a time, researchers thought this antioxidant could protect the heart, but a large trial published in 2005 found that 600 international units (IUs) every other day neither prevented cancer nor lowered the risk of heart attack or stroke in middle-aged and older women. (More recently, a 2008 study found no benefit of 400 IUs every other day in middle-aged and older men.)

Bottom line: Forget the supplements and get your vitamin E from food (oils like safflower, peanuts, eggs, fortified cereals, fruits, and green, leafy vegetables). Bear in mind that cooking and storing foods with vitamin E can reduce the amount you're getting.

There you have it; a quick list of the essential vitamins and minerals we all need to ensure we have in our diet. Remember, it’s not all-inclusive and if you have specific needs or health issues, you may need to be taking very some specific supplements not found in this report. So be smart; due your research before you add any kind of over-the-counter supplement and always consult your doctor if you have concerns or questions.

Thanks for reading! We’ll talk again soon!

© Copyright 2018 Mac Buckner. All rights reserved.

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