In this video series Dietician Deborah Jeffery will teach us how to select the right supplement.
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Deborah Jeffery: Hi! My name is Deborah Jeffery. I am a Registered Licensed Dietitian. Today, we are talking about dietary supplements and their use for men and women. Now, we are going to talk about how to select and use a supplement. First thing, you want to avoid any vitamin or mineral product that advertises mega doses. These are vitamins and minerals at levels that exceed the recommended daily value. If you take multivitamins and they are at 100% of that level, they are generally considered safe. But many times, they could be 2-3 times higher than the recommended level and these vitamins and minerals can build up in the body and create toxicity. So you may say, why are they sold if they can be harmful. Well, the reason is, it's because there is no law against the, they can be sold at that level. They are commonly available in grocery stores and health food stores or over the internet, through mail order, so the buyer just has to be aware.
Common side effects of too much vitamins are fatigue, hair loss, could be diarrhea and there is a rather minor but they can create other problems, more serious problems such as liver and nerve damage, kidney stones or birth defects. So, you have to be careful with the amounts in the supplements. When choosing a supplement, you can look at the label and look for the letters USP. This indicates that the product has been evaluated for things like purity, whether it will dissolve and be absorbed by your body and if it's at the correct strength.
This is done by a non profit independent agency, it's called the US Pharmacopoeia and it's voluntary. The manufacturers do not have to submit their products to it. If you have a product that doesn't have USP on it, it doesn't mean that the product failed, it could be that the product just wasn't submitted for this type of review. Another thing, when you are deciding about a supplement, then you want to look for is the expiration date. If the product doesn't have an expiration date, you probably don't want to buy it or if you have supplements at home that have surpassed the supplement date, you'd want to get rid of them, and that's generally at some place on the label.
Now, another thing when considering supplements as you want to be aware of gimmicks. You'll see a lot about natural vitamins and they are not any differently used by your body than synthetic vitamins. But the nature vitamins cost a whole lot more. So for your money, you are better of to sticking to the synthetic, there is not any advantage towards referred to as natural vitamins. You want to store your supplements in a cool dry place. Many times people will stick them in the bathroom and in the medicine cabinet, but that's a place that's damp and humid, it's best to avoid the bathrooms. Also you want to be careful with the supplements and store them out of the reach of the children. Don't rely on the childproof cap, particularly, any supplement with iron. Iron is toxic to children in large doses, and it is one of the leading causes of death from poisoning in children.
Another thing with supplements, if you have a hard time swallowing pills, you want to explore your options and see if that supplement could be available either in liquid or in a chewable form. That's the case with calcium supplements. Calcium supplements are usually in quite a big tablet and many people have difficulty swallowing them. But there are chewable versions available that people can get and that generally makes it much easier. Then you just want to play it safe. If you are taking any kind of a supplement that exceeds the daily recommended amount, you want to check with your medical provider to make sure that there's not a problem with it. Next, we'll be talking about herbals and other botanical supplements.