Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Are you tired of spending a fortune on supplements that don’t improve your health? Adding more and more vitamins to your cabinet might feel like a quick fix for optimal health, but it can be overwhelming and expensive.
Below is info on how to curate your medicine cabinet to save your health, sanity, and your wallet. Still need help? Contact our office for an affordable consultation with one of our nutritionists.
What Do I Get Rid of?
Every person is unique and has a special need for certain nutrients. This is why our practitioners carefully evaluate your dietary supplements.
While most vitamins pose minimal risks or side effects, some supplements can cause harm if taken in excess. For example, too much vitamin A can accumulate in the body over time and lead to vision changes, bone pain, and liver damage. Too much vitamin B6 can create numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet.
Some people have a decreased ability to eliminate iron from the body, in which case iron supplementation might damage the liver or the heart. Even iodine, which helps many people with thyroid disorders, can be damaging in those who do not need it.
Which Supplements Are Essential?
Food is the foundation of our nutrition. Vitamins are called “supplements” for a reason. They should complement the nutrition in food. Used sparingly and deliberately, dietary supplements play a specific role. They support the structure and function of body organs that might otherwise be compromised by disease. With careful and intentional consumption, you can achieve your health goals.
When you come to the Care Group, we educate you on a range of dietary supplements to address your specific needs. However, there are a few supplements that are nearly universal in their benefits. Keeping in mind that you should always talk with a qualified health care practitioner before beginning a new vitamin or dietary supplement, we consider the following 5 dietary supplements as universally beneficial.
When you sort through your own vitamin cabinet at home, look to see if you have these essentials. Ask yourself why all of the rest of the supplements are there.
Does Quality Matter?
Absolutely. The FDA does not review supplements for safety or efficacy before they are put on the market. The FDA also does not analyze supplements to be sure they contain the ingredients they say on the label.
A shocking report came out of New York in 2015. The New York attorney general’s office accused 4 retailers of selling fraudulent supplements. Many of their products did not contain the ingredients stated on the label, and many others contained contaminants.
The reality is: the quality of any dietary supplement depends on the integrity of the company who makes it. That is why it is imperative that you choose supplements from high-quality companies. Evaluating the quality of supplements gets complicated fast, but we have put together a short checklist to get you started.
Why is Picking Supplements So Complicated?
If you’re confused about what dietary supplements are right for you, you’re not alone. At the Care Group, we see thousands of patients a year who are overspending on supplements only to purchase poor quality products.
Not to mention, science and medical research continually evolve. We often see multiple research studies supporting the benefit of a certain vitamin or nutrient, but then the one negative study is the one that gets circulated by the press. Part of our role as healthcare providers is to help our patients make sense of the research and help them figure out what is best in their individual situation.
We think of dietary supplementation like a pyramid. At the foundation are the essential supplements listed in the table above. These are the supplements that complement a nutritious diet to support health in most people. The next tier of the pyramid represents the supplements that provide more specific support for body systems compromised by disease. If a person has diabetes, for example, we might recommend additional nutrients for blood sugar balance. The peak of the pyramid represents the supplements that optimize health or longevity. Examples of supplements at the peak of the pyramid might include glutathione or coenzyme Q10 to support healthy aging. Review our checklist below!
We help our patients navigate the landscape of dietary supplements, weighing the risks with the benefits and the short-term costs with the long-term returns.
We look forward to helping you soon!
The material contained herein is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Please refer to the full text of the Legal Disclaimer on www.thecaregrouppc.com.
FDA Website. Information for Consumers on Using Dietary Supplements. Updated September 5, 2017. https://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/UsingDietarySupplements/default.htm
O’Connor A. New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers. The New York Times. February 3, 2015. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/new-york-attorney-general-targets-supplements-at-major-retailers/?_r=1
About the Author: Dr. Gerard Guillory, MD is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and has published two books on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In 1985, he opened The Care Group, PC. Today, his clinic is a Primary Care facility that is a hybrid of functional and traditional medicine treating patients with digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, and other conditions. You can learn more about Dr. Guillory here.