Vitamins & Supplements Archive


Take melatonin supplements for sleep? Check your dosage

The number of people taking large amounts of melatonin (more than 5 milligrams per day) is at an all-time high. However, the amount in a supplement can be significantly higher than what the label shows. This can cause people to take too much, especially since many use melatonin regularly.

Supplementing your sleep

Sleep supplements, such as cannabidiol (CBD), melatonin, valerian, and chamomile promise a better night’s sleep. But there is little evidence showing that they are effective. In addition, supplements aren’t regulated, so it’s not always clear if a formula contains what’s listed on the label. Experts say that behavioral strategies are a better way to improve sleep. These include getting more exercise, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

Don’t waste time (or money) on dietary supplements

In 2022, Americans are projected to spend $35.6 billion on dietary supplements, even though there is little, if any, evidence of benefits. Loopholes in guidelines and clever marketing allow companies to promote these products with misleading promises. While some people may need specific supplements to help with deficiencies, for the average healthy person, following a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables provides all essential vitamins and minerals.

Magnesium and blood pressure: What’s the evidence?

The FDA will allow companies to make certain health claims regarding the consumption of magnesium and a reduced risk of high blood pressure. But the evidence for the link is inconclusive and inconsistent.

Warning: Hidden ingredients in supplements for weight loss and male enhancement

In December 2021, the FDA warned consumers about an increase in supplements tainted with harmful ingredients, particularly supplements promising male enhancement or weight loss.

Harvard study: Fish oil doesn’t prevent depression

A large, randomized Harvard study published online Dec. 21, 2021, by JAMA found that taking fish oil supplements didn’t prevent depression in otherwise healthy older adults.

Zinc gets a lukewarm response for fighting colds

A recent analysis found evidence mixed on whether zinc can help prevent or treat a cold. However, there appears to be no significant harm from taking over-the-counter zinc products in safe amounts per the label’s instructions.

Protecting the skin from the sun doesn’t increase fracture risk

Protecting the skin from the sun doesn’t increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency or bone fracture, according to a recent study.

A healthier butter for your heart?

Naturally occurring plant compounds called stanols can help reduce cholesterol. But they may not be found in large enough amounts in butter substitutes to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. The best way to lower is cholesterol is still by eating a plant-based diet with more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods, reducing consumption of saturated fat, and working to maintain a healthy weight.

FTC orders refunds to people who purchased anti-aging products

The Federal Trade Commission called on companies to issue refunds to people who purchased anti-aging products due to unsubstantiated marketing claims.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.