What Are the Top Supplements To Take (& Which Ones To Skip) | 1MD
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What Are the Top Supplements To Take (& Which Ones To Skip)

6 minute read


People are well aware of all of the health benefits associated with the consumption of health supplements. Dietary supplements have become an industry that is worth 35 billion dollars. However, that doesn't mean that all health supplements are equally beneficial. There has been a long history of health products that people stood behind only to find out there was no real need to take them. Supplements are no substitute for good nutrition, and there are even some supplements that people should avoid.

1. Multivitamins

Many people will say that it's hard to argue with the multivitamin/mineral combination that many people take every day. However, it should be noted that many adults who are in good health with no demonstrable nutritional deficiencies may not really need a daily supplement like this.

Obviously, even people who eat really healthy and balanced diets might still have a hard time getting all of the nutrients that they need all the time. Still, in many cases, what people don't eat today they will eat at a later date, so they will still ultimately get the nutrients that they need through diet alone.

The evidence that a multivitamin/mineral combination will actually have any effect on a person's risk of chronic disease is inconclusive. It seems that a balanced diet in which people eat a lot of different foods still makes more sense from the perspective of disease prevention. The fact that it is often hard for people to absorb all of the different nutrients from a multivitamin all at once is just another reason why a lot of people are better off trying to get most of their nutrients from their diet in the first place.

2. Vitamin D

Some dietary supplements are more useful than others. It's still often recommended that people take vitamin D for instance, since a lot of people actually don't get enough vitamin D through diet alone. People really need to get vitamin D from sun exposure, given the difficulties associated with relying entirely on dietary vitamin D. Individuals who work indoors and who live in the more northern parts of the world should almost certainly be taking vitamin D supplements.

Low levels of vitamin D are strongly correlated with an increased disease risk, including heart disease, depression, and dementia. People should avoid having chronically low levels of vitamin D. Testing for vitamin D levels is now common for this reason.

4. Vitamin C

People don't need to take vitamin C in most cases. Almost anyone who eats any fruits or vegetables at all will already be getting enough vitamin C through purely dietary sources. Vitamin C is water soluble. People will just flush out the extra vitamin C from their systems.

They don't really need all of the vitamin C that they would get from supplements. The extra vitamin C really won't necessarily do anything to prevent colds, and it won't have any other positive effects on the body. Supplements contain such large quantities of vitamin C that people should not really use them as a guide for how much vitamin C a person actually needs.

3. Probiotics

People have started taking probiotics more commonly in recent years, and it seems that they should continue to do so. Probiotics can give people a serious health boost by making it easier for them to absorb nutrients in the first place. In that regard, taking probiotics is a little like taking a lot of nutrients all at once, at least functionally. Probiotics are also better at enhancing immune function than vitamin C, making it particularly strange that a lot of people will take vitamin C, but not probiotics for this purpose.

5. B Vitamins

People are actively advised to stop supplementing with B vitamins. It's possible to find these in so many energy drinks today that a lot of people generally end up taking B vitamins in overly large quantities. It is true that B vitamins are water soluble, and the excessive quantities will just be flushed out of the system. However, this makes the supplements useless at best and harmful at worst.

There is some evidence that constantly filtering out all of the excess B vitamin content will place too much stress on the liver. People almost certainly get healthy levels of B vitamins from their diets anyway, so taking B vitamin supplements is just not a good idea.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric is so popular these days that a lot of people will want to question its efficacy as a matter of course. There have been plenty of animal studies related to the effects of turmeric. However, there haven't been a lot of studies in humans at present. Still, it seems like turmeric is worth taking based on the evidence that does exist. It is possible that this is a supplement that can fight inflammation and even cancer.

While there isn't a great deal of evidence to support all of the most important health benefits at present, a lot of people still have gotten solid results from turmeric. It seems to be harmless to take, especially given its long history of being used safely as a seasoning. Lots of people also like the flavor of turmeric, which has benefits outside of its use as a supplement.

7. Magnesium

It's tough to say whether or not taking magnesium is a good choice. Taking minerals always carries something of a toxicity risk. People might not get enough magnesium through their diets, of course, due to changes in soil health over the years.

Supplementing with magnesium might be a better idea. However, magnesium might aggravate some chronic illnesses. Supplements tend to exaggerate the amount of anything that people actually need, and people might end up taking overly large quantities of magnesium in the form of supplements.

When it comes to supplements like magnesium, it is recommended to consult a physician first. Of course, this is generally a good idea as a matter of course, given the complicated nature of human nutrition and all health supplements.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there are many supplements out there that provide a wide variety of health benefits and some that do not. It is crucial is to do your research and consult your doctor before buying expensive products that may or may not be of any help to the overall health of your body.



  1. http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/supplements-that-work-and-ones-you-should-skip

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