The typical American diet tends to consist of too many calories and not enough nutrients. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans indulges in fast food regularly.
Many people eat for convenience, filling their diets with burgers, pizza, pasta, and snacks, even when they do choose to eat at home. This not only leaves many deficient in important nutrients, but it can lead to digestive issues and other significant problems.
If you make it one of your lifestyle goals to improve your health, then you may want to consider taking supplements to ensure that you get everything you need. Read on to learn about five considerations you should make before choosing a dietary supplement.
1. Do You Need a Dietary Supplement?
While improving your health may require a supplement, this is not always the case. If you can make a simple dietary switch rather than take a pill, opt for that option.
Nutrients from food tend to absorb better than those packed in pills. But, if you feel fatigued and experience other symptoms of a nutrient deficiency or digestive issue, certain supplements may help.
2. Which Supplement You Need
If you determine that something seems missing in your body, the next step to consider is what you need. Popping a multivitamin may do the trick, but sometimes you only need something very specific.
Ask your doctor to run a full blood test to see your deficiency, because many can mimic one another. For anemia, you may only need iron.
Other times, you may determine a supplement to take when certain issues arise. For instance, low bone density requires a calcium supplement while you might ease nerve pain with magnesium.
Even if you improve your diet, you may need to help digestion with enzyme supplements or boost your slow metabolism with special formulas.
Sometimes healthier choices even require extra nutrition. For example, changing to a vegan diet requires a B12 supplement.
How many trace elements do you need? Find the DRI for your vitamins and minerals, and read the manufacturer’s recommendation. Taking too much can cause adverse effects and poisoning in some cases.
4. Side Effects
Before you take supplements, learn about the possible side effects. For instance, magnesium can cause diarrhea while many others can cause an upset stomach or constipation.
Weigh this against the benefits. If you decide you still need the supplement, ask a pharmacist how to lessen the chance of experiencing bad side effects. Something as simple as taking iron with prune juice can prevent constipation, for example.
5. Potential Interactions
Ask a doctor or pharmacist about potential interactions between your current medications and the supplement you plan to take. Some may increase the effectiveness of your meds and/or make you sick. Other times, certain supplements may counteract a medication that you need.
Reach Your Lifestyle Goals
Reach your lifestyle goals by improving your nutrition! Supplementing nutrients and other things you need can help you live a happier and healthier life.
Do you need more than just supplements to reach your goals? Find exercise tips as well on our health and fitness page!