Health Supplements: Boosting Your Health or Bad for Your Body?
Of course, we all know that the most effective way to maintain a healthy body is to eat the right things. However, in this day and age, that’s becoming increasingly challenging. Intensive farming and food production methods often strip foods of their natural nutrients, and when busy, it’s easy to reach for the wrong kinds of foods instead, such as sugary treats or salty snacks.
In light of this, it’s clear to see why health supplements are becoming more and more popular. It’s now possible to take pills that help us to feel less exhausted, boost our immunity, improve our skin and hair and assist with digestion. But are these supplements really as healthy as they seem?
Dangerous for Your Health?
Dr Tim Byers, from the University of Colorado, warns against taking health supplements, and even claims that they are ‘not beneficial’ to your health. In fact, according to research carried out by Byers and his team, supplements may be actually increasing your risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
The findings, which were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, concluded that the risks were only evident when people had taken more than the recommended dose of supplements.
One trial, which was investigating the effects of beta-carotene pills, showed that taking more than the stated dose increased the risk of developing heart-related problems and lung cancer by 20%.
In addition to this, other health supplements are also known to be damaging to your health. Vitamin A, when consumed in large doses, is highly toxic. Likewise, vitamin D can also be toxic, but you’d have to take ten times the daily recommended amount to experience any problems. Vitamin C can cause diarrhoea if taken in excess and vitamin B6 can cause tingling and pins and needles.
However, with all the examples above, the negative impact is only experienced if the supplement is taken in large amounts, over the recommended dose. A spokesman for the Council for Responsible Nutrition in the US says: ‘Good nutrition is highly recommended by many experts as just one way to keep you healthy. Government research demonstrates that Americans do not obtain all the nutrients they need from food alone, and in those cases, dietary supplements can help fill nutrient gaps.’
Dr Byers adds: ‘If taken at the correct dosage, multivitamins can be good for you.’
What Health Supplements Do You Need?
With so many supplements available to buy in the shops, it’s confusing knowing which ones are actually going to be beneficial to you. If in doubt, try a multi-vitamin, which is designed to supplement your existing diet and provide a good range of nutrients.
If you’re suffering from a specific condition, such as chronic exhaustion, dull skin or acne for example, it’s best to talk to your GP before making a decision. It may be that your symptoms are indicative of an underlying health problem, and if this is the case, your doctor may want to investigate the issue further.