Going to the drug store lately can feel a little like a Saturday morning trip to the candy shop, with dozens and dozens of colorful vitamin and mineral supplements to choose from! Can’t you just sample a little bit of everything?|
If you’re considering a supplement, heed some familiar advice—choose wisely and carefully. Filling up on this type of "candy" can do more harm than good.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are so popular that you can buy them just about anywhere—the drug store, grocery store, mall, the internet, and through home-based distributors. But do you really need them? Will they improve your health? Are they safe? How can you avoid being ripped off?
Food Is Still Best
Before you clear a medicine cabinet shelf to stock up on supplements, remember this truth: Food is still the #1 option for getting the nutrients you need for healthy living. A balanced multivitamin supplement is second best and is usually safe. Beyond that, individual nutrient supplements should only be chosen in special cases.
It is true that vitamins and minerals are essential in regulating various body activities. These nutrients do not function alone but work together with other nutrients. The best source of vitamins and minerals is food. Food provides the complete package. A balanced diet already contains the correct nutrients in just the right amounts. Individual foods also provide hundreds of other substances such as phytochemicals, zoochemicals, and antioxidants that help to prevent disease and boost the immune system. Continued ›