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7 Reasons Why Regular Supplement Intakes Are Not Good For You

7 Reasons Why Regular Supplement Intakes Are Not Good For You

Vitamins and mineral supplements are often touted for helping with energy, weight loss, stress, anti-aging and many other worries. These claims do have a grain of truth, but little else. Though supplements can help some things, they cannot cure ailments.

Normal healthy people should not need supplements or vitamins. Certain people will benefit from them for periods of time, such as pregnant women needing extra calcium or people with compromised immune systems or vitamin absorption issues. However, most people should not be taking supplements routinely throughout their lifetime.

1. More Vitamin Intake Is Not Better

Supplement means added – that is, in addition to regular diet. Vitamins and supplements are for people that don’t get enough through their regular meals. A healthy diet rich in grain, protein, fruits, and vegetables won’t typically require extra supplements. If the diet is sufficient, extra vitamins will only be passed out of the body as waste.

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Medicare acknowledges that most vitamin deficiencies are nutritional in origin, and has rather strict criteria for allowing reimbursement on medical tests or prescriptions. Presumably, taking care of one’s health would make treatment irrelevant.

2. The Immune System Works Best When Boosted Naturally

Having a strong immune system is one way of ensuring and maintaining optimal health. With compromised immune systems, viruses and diseases enter the body more easily and the body takes longer to recover. Also, a strong immune system helps keep tumor cells dormant. However, supplements are not natural. Nature Supplies recommends boosting immune systems naturally with a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet high in fruits, grains and vegetables and low in saturated fats. Their best advice is consuming raw vegetables and fruits, plenty of water, raw garlic, getting more rest and taking in 20-45 minutes of sun everyday. While some benefits can be attained through vitamins, nothing beats the real thing.

3. Stress Relief Happens Naturally

Although people use time consuming activities to fight stress, while most stress is caused by a lack of time. Eating, which people generally do anyway, is also the most natural and beneficial way to fight stress. Serenity Health has a list of foods that naturally relieve stress, many of which work to keep cortisol and adrenaline under control as well as lower blood pressure. While eating can be good for stress, make sure they are natural foods, not sugary snacks or chemical-laden things like ramen noodles.

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4. Supplements Are Not Regulated

Coming straight from the FDA: “Dietary supplements are not approved by the government for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. If the dietary supplement contains a NEW ingredient, that ingredient will be reviewed by FDA (not approved) prior to marketing — but only for safety, not effectiveness.” Similar to the way fast food restaurants can put anything they want into food, supplement manufacturers can put all kinds of chemicals in pill form and there is no oversight until someone gets sick or dies as a direct cause.

Medications are put through a rigorous development and approval system that takes eight to twelve years for safety and effectiveness. Supplements, on the other hand, can be marketed to consumers until they are proven unsafe. Manufacturers are not required to test the supplements in clinical trials to find potential risks or interactions with other substances.

5. It Is Possible To Overdose On Vitamins

When it comes to antibiotics, including hand sanitizers, they should be used sparingly to keep from building up a resistance. Likewise, people shouldn’t take excess of a vitamins “just in case.”

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A study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that Vitamin A and Manganese have potentially serious adverse effects at high intakes, while Iron and Vitamin C may have minor and reversible adverse effects that may be associated with supplement intake. The risk of harm depends on the safe intake range of a given nutrient, susceptibility of the individual, and how much of the nutrient comes through other means. The verdict on any of supplements is controversial, however, and while the above journal didn’t find iron overly harmful, Livestrong noted that iron could potentially be fatal in a one-time overdose. It’s certainly something a pregnant woman would want to be more cautious about taking.

6. Multivitamins May Be More Harmful Than Good

The controversy gets particularly interesting where it concerns Beta Carotene, Vitamin A and, especially, Vitamin E. Numerous studies exist on Vitamin E and the adverse effects, such as an increase in mortality, an increase in prostate cancer in men and an increased risk of heart failure in patients with vascular disease or diabetes.

There is a lot of reason to not take supplements at all. While beta carotene showed a potential increase of lung cancer in male smokers, overall there were signs that it may be both beneficial and harmful. Forbes has a list of vitamins that you should never take, which they updated to also include vitamin D (see below).The Atlantic Monthly also outlined a number of supplements that may actually be killing consumers.

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7. Supplements Are Expensive

Some professionals claim that spending a little now on supplements will save billions in health care in the future. Meanwhile, consumers spend over $30 billion annually, with some individuals spending over $100 per month, on supplements with exaggerated claims and unsupported claims of effectiveness.

Vitamin D may be the biggest waste of money. Forbes research added it to their list of vitamins not to take because the claims that it helps bone density might not be even a little bit true. At the best, consumers are simply wasting their money.

To top it all off, many supplements contain 100% of the recommended daily intake of a given nutrient, which is to say that a person would be overdoing things unless they consume no other food containing certain nutrients at all. On the whole, research suggests that if consumers are to spend more money, to spend it on more fresh foods.

As with any medical advice, doctors or pharmacists can help a consumer ensure they are not getting too much or too little of a certain vitamin or that supplements are not interfering with medications already prescribed. For an extensive overview, please see the National Institutes of Health fact sheets of dietary supplements.

Featured photo credit: Colin Dunn/flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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