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FOOD

SUPPLEMENTS
Rising Food Supplements

Latest food supplements nowadays are in bloom and people are now
becoming more aware and interested in them. Researches show time and
again that scientific evidence of their health benefits is growing. However,
it depends upon the individual whether to try using them in the hope of
making his/her body healthier, or not minding them at all. Today,
discoveries of science are ever developing leading the mainstream public
in utilizing cost-effective healthcare.

Natural sources of essential vitamins.
About Food Supplements:

As stated in Health Today, food supplements or dietary
supplements are dietary substances that supply additional nutrients
usually lacking or in amounts less than ideal in the regular diet. They
come in varied forms like amino acids, vitamins, minerals, oils, herbs
and other botanicals. They are collectively known as dietary
supplements in the U.S. They are also referred to as functional foods or
nutraceuticals as they impart health benefits aside from basic nutrition.
Consequently, some plant-based products get classified as herbal
medicine or phytomedicine because of their therapeutic indications.

Sources of vitamins.
To health and well-being:

According to Health Today, dietary supplements can have an
important impact on the prevention and management of disease and on
the maintenance of health. In general, food supplements are useful for
people who are unable or unwilling to eat an adequate diet.
Very young children and those with poor eating habits are usually
prescribed multivitamin-mineral supplements; the same goes with
adults using weight reduction diets.

Whole grains:
excellent source of B
vitamins.
Obstetricians normally recommend a daily
multivitamin/mineral supplement with folic acid or folate to women
who might become pregnant to reduce the risk of birth defects in
their offspring. People recovering from surgery or serious illness
that have disrupted normal eating habits may also benefit from
supplementation. Elderly people who become sedentary or have
lost interest in eating may not get sufficient nutrients – they too
may benefit from dietary supplementation. Scientific studies also
show that generous intakes of certain nutrients may have protective
effects, especially for certain chronic illnesses. Osteoporosis, PMS
(premenstrual syndrome), female menopause and andropause (male
menopause), prostate problems, low resistance/immune system
problems, mood anxieties, and many more health concerns, are
commonly addressed by new research on nutritional supplements.
How about the Placebo Effect?

According to Ingrid Wickelgren, some people seem to be helped by
supplements that prove ineffective in scientific studies. That is often
because of something called the “placebo effect,” in which a substance
works only because a person believes it works. The placebo effect is
quite real, and because of it, all reliable studies include a control group, a
group of people who get dummy pills or sugar syrups instead of the real
thing. By comparing the control group to subjects who get the substance
under study, scientists can see whether the supplement has a genuine
biological effect or is no better than a placebo.

Sugar crystals.
Potential Dangers:

Wickelgren also stated that taking high doses of certain
supplements can be dangerous. Although they are not called drugs,
vitamins and minerals at high doses act like drugs and can have druglike
side effects. For example, it is known that doses of vitamin A above
25,000 IU can cause, among other things, severe liver damage, bone
diseases, and, when taken by pregnant women, birth defects. Recent
evidence has shown that doses even as low as 10,000 IU can cause some
types of birth defects.
Other vitamins can also be toxic. Taking more than 100 mg per day
of vitamin B6— 50 times the RDA—can harm the nervous system,
causing problems with balance and altered sensations. Niacin, which
comes in supplements of 250 mg, 400 mg, and 500 mg, can trigger
vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver damage, among other maladies, in
doses of 500 mg from slow-release formulations and 750 mg from
immediate-release pills.
Toxicity also has been associated with high doses of iron,
selenium, and even vitamin C. Folic acid doses above 1 mg can mask
symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, a rare condition that is most
often seen among the elderly and some strict vegetarians. If it goes
undetected, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible nerve
damage. There may be unidentified dangers as well. While doses of
vitamin E up to 800 IU appear to be safe for most healthy people, it
will take long-term studies of the use of vitamin E, involving
thousands of people, to know whether high doses are safe for
everyone.

Source of vitamin C.
Further, Wickelgren wrote that earlier research showing
associations between intake of beta-carotene and reduced cancer
incidence have not held up in the latest intervention trials. One of these
trials, the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), was
halted in January 1996 because preliminary results indicated that a
combination of beta-carotene and vitamin A was not preventing lung
cancer in high-risk men and women and may actually have been
harming study participants. Published in the May 2, 1996, New England
Journal of Medicine, the study found 28 percent more lung cancers and
17 percent more deaths in participants taking 30 mg of beta-carotene
and 25,000 IU of vitamin A.

Carotene: source of vitamin A.
This result was similar to that found in two other trials.
Researchers conducting the Physicians' Health Study reported in
the same issue of the New England Journal that they found no
benefit or harm from beta-carotene on cancer or heart disease. And
the 1994 results of the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Lung
Cancer Prevention Trial, published in the same journal on April 14,
showed 18 percent more lung cancers and 8 percent more deaths in
smokers who took 20 mg of beta-carotene daily for five to eight
years.

Not all of the intervention trials have reported negative results,
however. In 1993 a study published in the September 15 Journal of
the National Cancer Institute suggested that a combination
supplement of beta-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium reduced the
stomach cancer mortality rate by 21 percent on average among
subjects in Linxian, China.
Reference:

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