What Supplements Should I Take?

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What Supplements Should I Take?FDA issues new safety rules for vitamins” read the latest article that my hubby forwarded me a few years back. He works in research for a major Pharma company and always gets me up-to-date on what’s shakin’ on the chemistry side of food. Sparked by the article about vitamins, I want to talk about other supplements that you may consider taking.

I definitely support taking vitamins and some supplements, so I felt relieved when I heard about the FDA rule on the safe use of dietary supplements.

Why? I’ve seen an 80% decrease of my seasonal colds and flu over the last 6 years since I’ve been taking a multivitamin a day. Of course, it’s hard to say for certain if it was the vitamins, but I suspect they had something to do with it.

Multivitamins, however, are not a replacement for food – but they can help you to get regular doses of vitamins and some minerals that you might not be getting 100% from your diet. Don’t forget that we rely on our friend fiber and many other beneficial food stuffs to nourish the body correctly.

Beyond Multivitamins

SupplementsOk, so what about other supplements besides multivitamins? I’ve read and heard quite a bit about all sorts of “natural” alternative remedies. While I do enjoy my herbal teas and use spices liberally, I’ve always been wary of bottled complementary or alternative medicines.

While some may be effective, many times they have proven to been unsafe or quite dangerous depending on dosage and allergens. Scientists simply don’t know why they work.

Heck, scientists as smart and hard working as they are, still don’t understand all the biological mechanisms in the body. Say what? Yes, the body is such a complex vessel, every day we learn something new, especially in the world of health.

I like my husband’s “science for dummies” explanation that he often reiterates to me when I ask “Why, why?”

His term for the body is the “black box” where you administer a treatment and wait to see what comes out the other end. In the case of alternative medicines, you have two black boxes, the body AND the medicine.

Really, anything could be in these so-called “natural” supplements and since scientists don’t know what’s in some of them we’re looking at mystery pills. Yikes.

Now, to be precise, even under the latest FDA rules, dietary supplements are still regulated simply as foods. That means, unlike new drugs, dietary supplements don’t have to go through review by FDA for safety and effectiveness or be “approved” before they can be marketed. All that the new rule requires is that dietary supplements now must be manufactured in a clean facility using current good manufacturing principles – but the companies still don’t have to reveal what they put into these supplements!

This reminds me of a very real scary story my mother-in-law told us. She was taking Chinese medicine supplements that were recommended by a friend. They seemed to help her ailment so she ordered a second batch. After she complained of constant fatigue, my husband encouraged her to stop taking them. As it turned out, the second batch was accidentally laced with sedatives. What a downer, right?

But seriously, why not stick with a multivitamin and rely on the curative foods that we know are safe, like everyday, good ole’ fashioned fruits and veg? Don’t agree? Whatever your opinion, share it below in the comment section!

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