Vitamins & Supplements Archive


Is it okay to take multivitamins?

The general consensus is that healthy people who eat right need a vitamin or mineral supplement only if they have a diagnosed vitamin or mineral deficiency. Still, multivitamins may provide a safety net to fill dietary nutrition gaps even for people who mostly eat healthy. Studies have shown that taking multivitamins as prescribed usually doesn't cause any serious issues, and many over-the-counter brands are relatively inexpensive. Some people also view taking a daily multivitamin as another way to support a healthy lifestyle.

Will a multivitamin help my brain?

Increasing evidence suggests that people who take a daily multivitamin pill have a lower risk of cognitive decline compared with people who don't take multivitamins. In particular, two randomized controlled trials published in the spring of 2023 found that people older than age 60 who take a multivitamin are less likely to experience a slight age-related cognitive decline, at least over the next three years, compared to those taking a placebo. The benefit appeared to be particularly true for people who had cardiovascular disease.

Watch out for tainted sexual enhancement products

According to the FDA, many sexual enhancement products sold online and over the counter may cause potentially serious side effects and interact with other medications or dietary supplements.

Can a multivitamin improve your memory?

Recently published research suggests that a daily multivitamin may improve memory enough such that it can function as if you were three years younger. We take a closer look at the study.

Start vetting your supplements

Online tools enable consumers to vet dietary supplements before taking them. That's important, since dietary supplements sometimes contain hidden prescription drugs, controlled substances, or untested and unstudied components. Some of the most reliable tools to vet supplements are provided on the websites of the FDA, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Defense. Consumers can look up basic information about dietary supplements, clinical evidence about their use and effectiveness, suspicious ingredients they may contain, and safety violations.

Good intentions, perilous results

Some supplements can interfere with lab tests to diagnose or monitor health conditions, which can lead to life-threatening misdiagnoses or unnecessary additional testing. Biotin (vitamin B7) can skew results from a blood test to diagnose heart attack. Other problematic supplements include vitamin C, which can interfere with blood sugar readings and stool tests; calcium, which can make bones appear denser than they are on bone density scans; and creatine, which can lead to falsely high readings of creatinine, a marker for kidney disease.

Vitamin D deficiency linked to loss of muscle strength

A 2022 study found that vitamin D deficiency significantly increases the likelihood of age-related loss of muscle strength, known as dynapenia, a major risk factor for falls.

Can eating potassium-rich foods lower my blood pressure?

When it comes to managing high blood pressure, the average American consumes too much sodium and too little potassium. Reversing this imbalance could help control high blood pressure which could, in turn, lead to fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease.

Watch out for bogus supplement claims

In November 2022, the FDA called out seven supplement companies for illegally claiming their products could treat or prevent cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis or heart failure.

Statins vs. supplements: A reckoning

A 2022 study found that a statin drug lowers LDL cholesterol better than six popular dietary supplements. While not everyone with high LDL needs a statin, these drugs are proven to lower heart attack risk in people who have or are at high risk of heart disease based on a common risk calculator. Dietary supplements such as cinnamon, garlic, and turmeric aren't helpful for addressing heart-related risks, and product labels often offer false promises regarding cardiovascular benefits.

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