In the mix: Not all supplements are created equal

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, February 16, 2009

by Mandy Young, RN

Supplements are a great tool for getting all your vitamins and minerals into your diet. Some supplements have even been shown to reduce cholesterol. While there is sound research on the benefits of supplements, purchasing one can be a dicey game.

In my article, "Why doctors tend to prefer prescriptions to supplements" I explain how the lack of federal regulation has made the industry vulnerable to snake oil artists. I haven't heard of every company and product on the market so I won't claim to know which are the best. However, I can share a few tips to help you screen out winners from losers:

The one-a-day vitamins in grocery and drug stores are cheap and convenient, but they don't absorb well into your system. Your body requires repeat doses of vitamins in order to get the necessary nutrients. This explains why hospital patients are sometimes given a multivitamin two or three times a day. 

The way a supplement is formulated also affects how much good it does to your body. Check to see if the supplement you are taking has sulfate, oxide, or gluconate in it. If you find any of these on your label, you may want to consider switching brands. Your body is likely absorbing very little of what you are taking, which means there is much waste. 

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