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7 Vitamins and Supplements You Shouldn’t Be Taking

7 Vitamins and Supplements You Shouldn’t Be Taking

Everyone seems to be vitamin crazy in the 21st century. The problem is that they might not all be as beneficial for you as you may think. Now before you freak out, just remember that you can get healthy, recommended doses of most vitamins and minerals through actual food that is healthy for you—remember food?—and these won’t hurt you. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular vitamins and supplements that you shouldn’t be taking.

1. Calcium

Despite the fact that we’re told to have high volumes of calcium in our diet, calcium supplements can actually be dangerous, particularly for people over 50. This is because older bodies can have more difficulty absorbing the mineral, which can lead to it being absorbed by the walls of arteries, as opposed to the bones. This can result in a hardening of the arteries, which in turn can lead to strokes and heart disease.

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If you need to be taking calcium supplements, stay clear of calcium carbonate, which is particularly difficult for your bones to absorb. Instead, take calcium citrate, along with magnesium, which will aid with absorption. Alternatively: Got milk? No, really, if you have some then you should drink it.

2. Prenatal Vitamins…When You’re Not Pregnant

You may wonder why any woman would take prenatal vitamins when they’re not pregnant or preparing for pregnancy. The answer is simple—shinier hair, clear skin and stronger nails. Sure, this all sounds positive, but there is a danger in taking supplements that aren’t meant for you. For example, prenatal vitamins contain more iron than a non-pregnant woman needs, and having an excess of that in your body can lead to constipation, vomiting and nausea. Basically, you’ll get all of the terrible parts of pregnancy without the glow and gifts. Who would want that? Similarly, the excess folic acid contained in the vitamins can leave you with a rapid heart rate, tingling in your toes, and memory loss. In short, leave these bad boys for the actual pregnant ladies.

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3. Creatine

If you’re a gym junkie you may have heard of this supplement. Generally, it’s used post-workout in order to build and repair muscle. However, research has shown that excessive use can result in dehydration as well as kidney damage. In addition, it can worsen the symptoms of people who suffer with asthma. President of Cenegenics Carolinas, Dr. Mickey Barber, recommends that you should only take it under medical supervision.

4. Vitamin C

For the most part, vitamin C tablets are harmless. However, 2000mg or more can increase your risk of kidney stones—and nobody wants tiny rocks stabbing them from the inside. The main issue with vitamin C supplements is that they’re unnecessary. Studies have shown that their prevention of the common cold is a mere myth.

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Furthermore, unless you’re eating like a sailor from 1750, you’re unlikely to need them to ward off scurvy. Just eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and you’ll be fine.

5. Soy Isolate

Not the same as Soylent Green. That would be bad.

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Soy isolate can be found in some brands of protein bars and shakes, but there can be a downside for you men folk. Unfortunately, it can have an estrogen effect, which becomes stronger in older men whose bodies are already having trouble balancing their estrogen and testosterone levels. If you still aren’t clear on the visual, it means that it can result in breast formation, or gynecomastia, in men.

If you gents want to get the full benefits of soy without the cleavage, I recommend pure edamame and tofu.

6. Yohimbe

If you haven’t heard of yohimbe before, that could very well be because you don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction. Congratulations, you can skip this one! Bark from the yohimbe tree contains yohimbine, which is a substance that can appear in supplements that are used to treat the above. The problem is that it can also result in serious heart arrhythmia problems, as well as high blood pressure. As an alternative, try increasing your exercise and general health, and if you feel like you still need a supplement, try DHEA.

7. Multivitamins

Basically these are money wasters that result in little more than expensive urine. Oh, except for the part where they’re potentially harmful. A 25-year study of 38,772 women has shown that the risk of death is actually increased for those who had engaged in long-term use of multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper. Seriously, just eat some vegetables!

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Tegan Jones

Commercial editor for global publications Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker & Business Insider.

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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