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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.
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.
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