Supplement Smarts

Trying to sleep better or increase your energy with a pill? You’re not alone — 76% of American adults take dietary supplements. Before you buy the first bottle you see, consider these pointers from David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research

Posted March 3,2018 in Lifestyle.

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Supplement Smarts

Leave well enough alone

If you’re healthy and don’t have any chronic issues, you probably don’t need to take anything. The e xceptions,  according to Katz, are vitamin D and a probiotic, plus an omega-3 fatty acid supplement for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Fact-check

There’s a chance those immunity-boosting claims about spirulina are true, but you should always verify. Research ingredients and their purported benefits on reputable sites that are dedicated to public health (as opposed to supplement company sites). At least a few sources should be in agreement. Katz recommends ConsumerLab.com, Consumer Reports, WebMD, Mayo Clinic and the Harvard Health Letter.

Ask your physician

Not sure if melatonin is the secret to better sleep or coenzyme Q10 will keep your heart healthy? Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you have and the supplements you’re considering. They may want to check first for other causes and/or certain nutrient deficiencies.

Fill in the gaps

Examine your diet to see what may be lacking. If you eat plenty of meat but few vegetables, you may need an array of plantbased nutrients like bioflavonoids, carotenoids, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin K. Vegetarians likely need vitamins B12 and D, and possibly calcium. A dietitian can help you determine the best food sources for any nutrients you may need.