With hectic schedules and lifestyles, most people don't get enough essential vitamins, minerals and additional nutrients. Even with a wholesome diet, people often lack vital nutrients, states renowned health advisor Dr. Oz. Many health experts concur that nutrient supplementation can benefit your overall health, but they note that too much of a good thing, including vitamins, can cause harm. Knowing which supplements to take is key to promoting your well-being.
Nutrition is best gleaned from an assortment of whole foods, but people don't get all of the nutrients they need from diet alone. "That's why you must take a multivitamin," says Dr. Oz. Further, the sugary and refined or processed foods most Americans regularly eat cause nutrient deficiencies because they're typically stripped of vital vitamins and minerals. Also, processed foods that are vitamin fortified don't offer the same nutritional value as whole or natural foods, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Eating plenty of whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and lean forms of protein, including dairy foods, will provide you with a variety of nutrients. However, adding a multivitamin supplement to a healthy diet will ensure nutrition, according to both Dr. Oz and the Harvard School of Public Health.
Eating fish at least twice a week and adding other healthy fats from nuts and vegetable oils, such as olive oil, to your meals, will provide essential omega fatty acids, according to the USDA food pyramid, but you still may need to take fish oil supplements for optimal nutrition, especially if you have certain health conditions, according to Dr. Oz. Check with your health care provider before adding supplements to your diet.
While supplements aren't a substitute for healthy foods, health specialists advocate taking a daily multivitamin to boost the effects of natural nutrients from food. A multivitamin combined with extra vitamin D will help ensure nutrition and help fight diseases, such as colon cancer and breast cancer. Dr. Oz also recommends splitting up the supplements each day by taking "half in the morning and half at night." He also urges people to take extra calcium, but at a different time of the day.
The Harvard School of Public Health warns against the dangers of taking too many supplements and urges individuals to follow official guidelines for the recommended dosages of vitamins, minerals and related nutrients. Dietitians for the Mayo Clinic point to harm that can sometimes come from vitamins, citing a study that showed beta-carotene supplements actually increased the incidence of lung cancer for smokers.
Fish Oil Benefits
Omega-3 fatty acids, vital for brain and heart health, are found primarily in fish such as salmon, and in fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in some nuts and vegetable oils, such as walnuts, flaxseed and soybean, according to MayoClinic.com. Most health experts agree that taking daily fish oil supplements is beneficial to health, especially if you don't eat fish often during the week.
According to The World's Healthiest Foods, the following conditions and symptoms may call for additional amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet: depression, inability to concentrate, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint pain, fatigue, dry or itchy skin, and brittle hair or nails. Taking a daily fish oil supplement will provide extra omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish Oil Risks
Avoid high doses of fish oil, however, and consult with your health care provider before relying on fish oil supplements for heart problems or mental conditions such as depression. Most fish oil supplements are tested for mercury content before distribution, according to Dr. Oz.
- The Dr. Oz Show: Dr. Oz's Ultimate Supplement Checklist
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source Healthy Eating Pyramid
- USDA: My Food Pyramid
- The World's Healthiest Foods: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- MayoClinic.com: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil, Alpha-linolenic Acid
- MayoClinic.com: Multivitamins --- Are They the Best Thing for You?