Are supplements a money pit?

Are supplements a money pit?



If your daily routine includes swallowing a multivitamin, fish oil capsule, or other nutritional supplement, you’re not alone. At least half of Americans say they take supplements, and multivitamins are by far the most common.

A study comparing multivitamins with a placebo found that these supplements did not reduce the overall risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. In this case, if you do not have a special disorder that affects absorption, it may be more logical to take vitamins and minerals directly from the plants that are the source.

Here are some supplements from Pieter Cohen, who studies supplements at Harvard Medical School:

Omega-3 fatty acids

After vitamins and minerals, fish oil is the second most popular supplement. These amber-colored capsules contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which can relieve inflammation, help prevent blood clots, and possibly prevent dangerous heart rhythms. The results of many studies measuring the performance of omega-3 supplements versus placebos over the past two decades show that these supplements do not prevent heart attacks in people at risk. Eating two servings of oily fish per week or eating a healthy vegetarian diet rich in nuts, legumes and healthy fats seems more reasonable than spending money on over-the-counter fish oil supplements.

Red yeast rice

Red yeast rice is made by steaming white rice with Monascus purpureus yeast. The resulting red-colored extract contains monacolin K, the same active ingredient as prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs. Monacolin K is known to reduce cholesterol levels when taken between 4 and 10 mg, but it is not possible to comment on the effect level of these supplements since it is not specified how much monacolin K is contained in each pill. If you need to lower your high cholesterol, using the medicine prescribed by your doctor provides a much more reliable and controllable treatment.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ 10 is a vitamin-like substance naturally produced by the body and necessary for energy production in muscle cells. Some cardiologists may recommend this supplement to treat or prevent muscle pain associated with statin use. About 10% of people who use statins experience muscle aches, but considering that people who need statins are already elderly, it may not be possible to separate cause and effect in this regard. Statins work by blocking the production of mevalonic acid, a substance the liver uses to make cholesterol, but your body also uses mevalonic acid to make CoQ 10. This can cause statin use to lower CoQ 10 levels as an undesirable side effect. Taking CoQ 10 supplements regularly may increase blood levels, but it is unclear whether this reflects the amount in muscle tissue.

Consult your doctor to confirm that statins are the cause of pain after statin use. If you notice that the pain that disappeared when you stop taking the medicine for a while and start taking it again, you can talk to your doctor about switching to a lower dose or a substitute, you can also try using CoQ 10 to see if it will benefit you.

References:

Julia Corliss. “Are you wasting money on supplements?” Şuradan Alındı: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-you-wasting-money-on-supplements (01.06.2021)


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