Archive for March, 2016

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What are Dietary Supplements?

A dietary supplement is intended to add further nutrition to your daily intake. All dietary supplements contain various ingredients that range from vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and even extracts or concentrates. These supplements are ingested mainly in a pill form but can sometimes be a liquid or powder. 

The most common of dietary supplements are vitamins. Most of us rarely receive our daily value of nutrients from the food we eat which is why it is easier to obtain these from a supplement form. It is much more convenient to take a daily multi-vitamin than eating a bunch of different foods with the nutrients you need. If you eat from the basic food groups daily then you should have no problem getting a proper balance of nutrients, however, the majority of us do not.

Benefits

In most cases the health benefits of taking supplements outweigh the cons which of course comes from proper education of the supplements you take. Please keep in mind that you should never solely rely on supplements for nutrient support and only use them vitaminswhen feeling a deficiency (they are not long term).

The benefits of bodybuilding supplements are perfect for bulking up your muscles. A popular supplement for building mass is protein powder which gives you large amounts of amino acids to help feed your muscles and prevent soreness, a very common problem with those new to the sport. Serious bodybuilders will resort to steroid supplements, which are often confused with regular anabolic steroids. You can get the same results but without the dangerous side effects.

Nutrition supplements, mainly vitamins, can greatly improve overall health skin, vision, bones, hair, and many more. The problem is there are so many out there it is hard to decide on which to get. A general multi-vitamin would be the easier buy because it has a little of everything, however, if you wanted to boost just your overall energy levels you would then choose some vitamin b complex. Knowing the difference between vitamins can save money and time in the end.

Struggling to lose weight? Weight loss supplements can help you shave off some necessary weight when properly combined with exercise and proper nutrition. These supplements help boost metabolism and energy levels to help you push through a workout. Not all weight loss products are effective so be sure to carefully research the ones that actually work.

How to Use

Dietary supplements come in various forms including pills (soft gel or solid), liquids, and powders. Regardless of the form supplements come in, they usually have comparable amounts of what you need. For those who have a hard time swallowing a large pill may be interested in liquid or powder form. Ingesting any supplement is pretty self explanatory but it may be wise to know the basics.

Make Sure to EAT

Always be sure to take supplements after or during your decent sized meal. This rule applies to most supplements especially multi-vitamins. Taking supplements on an empty stomach can easily lead to stomach upset or even regurgitation. This can discourage most people from ever trying supplements again.

Read Directions Carefully

There are countless times when people use supplements without consulting the label. Carefully look over the directions and nutrient information of any product you use. Some supplements suggest taking only once a day while others may say two or three times daily. Taking more than what is recommended could potentially cause side effects.

Mixing with Prescription Medication

If you are on any prescribed medication it is imperative that you speak with your physician before ingesting supplements. There are too many combinations of pills out there that will cause more harm than good.

Side Effects

It is rather hard to find credible information about the dangers and side effects of dietary supplements. This is why it is important to thoroughly research the supplements you are considering. Remember, taking over the recommended dosage of anything could potentially cause side effects.

Side effects from taking supplements generally come from those who are not educated on what dietary supplements really are. They often misinterpret the information because companies can be quite vague. Most of the time side effects are caused from taking too high a dosage and/or combining supplements with alcohol, prescription medication, etc. Also, manufacturers are not required to prove their supplement is effective which could ultimately cause more harm than good.

Recommendations

Dietary supplements are not meant to replace any food. They simply help fill the cracks of nutrients and minerals our bodies may be Dietary Supplementsmissing out on.

Vitamin supplements do not make up for an unhealthy diet.  It is your job to ensure a proper and well balanced intake of the basic food groups, especially fruits and vegetables.

If you are always on-the-go you may resort to unhealthy eating habits. Consider taking a multi vitamin if you feel you are falling short of your daily nutrient levels.

High priced supplements do not always mean high quality. Always research products that give you very little information. There is a substantial amount of knock-off supplements on the market with comparable prices, labels, nutrient facts, etc. These companies tend to destroy various supplement markets with their false claims.

Focus on getting your nutrients from the basic food groups. Knowing what to eat and how much is the key to healthy living especially increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Try to avoid taking supplements long term.


References:

Food and Drug Administration. (2015). “What is a dietary supplement?” Accessed from FDA on March 15th, 2016.

American Diabetes Association. (2014). “Types of dietary supplements.” Accessed from ADA on March 18th, 2016.

American Cancer Society. (2015). “FDA regulation of drugs versus dietary supplements.” Accessed from ACS on March 18th, 2016.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B Complex

If you consume energy drinks on a daily basis then you may be familiar with the B vitamins it contains. However, most energy drinks also contain added caffeine to help give you that immediate boost of energy. But what happens once that boost wears off? Your body and mind begin to slow down to a grinding halt. If this happens to you, then considering an energy alternative will be of your best interest.

Vitamin B Complex is the answer to all your energy needs. This supplement contains every B vitamin you need in the correct amounts. And just like any supplement, you should never take B Complex on an empty stomach. This is especially important for B vitamins because they efficiently convert the food already in your body to energy. If you struggle with concentration and remembering things then this is for you.

Using a Vitamin B Complex supplement daily will no doubt change the way you function in terms of brain function. There are certain B vitamins that even help with proper digestion and burning unwanted fat. Let us now take a look at each individual B Vitamin and exactly how it can benefit your health.

 

vitamin b food sources

Vitamin B Food Sources (imgsrc: spoitex.com)

 

Types of B Vitamins

Vitamin B1 = Thiamine

Thiamine plays a vital role in brain function because it helps to create proper neurotransmitters. Without thiamin, you will have problems with concentration, learning, and even overall brain development. A thiamin deficiency, although rather rare, can easily lead to a poor nervous system and damage your cardiovascular system.

Thiamine may also help treat alcoholism and any related brain function, diseases or disorders.

Common foods associated with thiamine include: fish, beef, liver, dried milk, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast.

Vitamin B2 = Riboflavin

Riboflavin is necessary for the proper development and function of the skin, lining of the digestive tract, blood cells, and many other parts of the body. This also helps to keep your metabolism in check so your body can absorb food more efficiently.

Riboflavin may also help eliminate eye disorders, like cataracts, and reduce the number of migraine headaches.

Common foods associated with riboflavin include: most vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and squash, as well as, milk, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin B3 = Niacin

Niacin is perfect for keeping your metabolism up so that your body can absorb the good and break down the bad. Increases in niacin consumption also help break down fatty tissue to help with weight loss. This vitamin is highly recommended for those struggling to lose any unwanted body fat.

Niacin may also help treat high cholesterol in your blood to help reduce the risk of heart attack and slow narrowing of the arteries.

Common foods associated with niacin include: yeast, rice, liver, fish, chicken, pork, peanuts, mushrooms, and peas.

Vitamin B5 = Pantothenic acid

Pantothenic acid supports a large role in energy production and metabolism. This vitamin assists the body in the absorption of fats, carbohydrates, and protein to be efficiently used as energy. If you are fatigued, irritable, or restless, you may be suffering from a deficiency.

Pantothenic acid may also help acne, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, and diabetes.

Common foods associated with pantothenic acid include: mushrooms, avocado, sweet potato, lentils, peas, chicken, turkey, and broccoli.

Vitamin B6  = Pyridoxine

Pyridoxine is essential for maintaining the health of skin, red blood cells, and nervous system. Red blood cells help transfer oxygen all over our body which is important for optimum health. Pyridoxine also promotes the metabolism of fats and proteins so you get the most energy from your food.

Pyridoxine may also help in treating nausea during pregnancy, prevent heart disease, reduce depression, carpel tunnel, behavioral disorders, and many more.

Common foods associated with pyridoxine include: yeast, milk, bananas, avocado, brown rice, bran, beans, cheese, tuna, turkey, and beef.

Vitamin B7 = Biotin

Biotin is incredibly popular these days, especially those interested in promoting nail health. This helps increase the thickness of those with brittle nails. Biotin is great for clearing up skin issues and also helps to regulate blood sugar. Women who are pregnant should consider biotin because it assists in producing much healthier babies.

Common foods associated with biotin include: cauliflower, bananas, mushrooms, beans, nuts, milk, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin B9 = Folic acid

Folic acid, or folate, is highly recommended for pregnant women because it helps prevent birth defects in the brain, spinal cord, and other vital areas. Studies have shown that many people do not receive their daily dose of this vitamin. Folic also acid helps with proper metabolism, digestion, and overall organ health.

Folic acid may help treat anemia, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Common foods associated with folic acid include: organ meats (liver), eggs, seeds, and nuts.

Vitamin B12  = Various cobalamins

Sometimes known as methylcobalamin, a stand alone b12 vitamin, this set of vitamins is probably the most important of them all. Vitamin b12 supports energy, stimulates serotonin levels, promotes red blood cell production, and improves overall cell health in the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin b12 may help treat alzheimers, heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, depressions, asthma, allergies, cancer, and many more.

Common foods associated with vitamin b12 include: mainly fish, milk, and other dairy products.


References:

Harbstreet, Cara. (2014). “Whats the Big Deal with B Vitamins?” Accessed from Get Healthy U on March 12th, 2016.

WebMD. (2016). “Vitamins & Supplements – B Vitamins” Accessed from WebMD on March 15th, 2016.

Mayo Clinic. (2013). “Thiamine (Vitamin B1)” Accessed from Mayo Clinic on March 15th, 2016.