How to Assess the Nutritive Value of Health Supplements
It can be rather overwhelming when you have to choose among the thousands of health supplements available today. It’s not just a matter of knowing what supplements you need, but rather how to know which supplements are the safest and most effective for you.
Types of Nutrients
You need to read the label thoroughly to see what nutrient are found in the product. There are nutrients that can be effective in any form. For instance, whether synthetic or natural, Vitamin C is always acceptable. When it comes to beta-carotene and Vitamin E, however, it’s another story – both are superior when they come in natural form. Any mineral form is also usually acceptable; however, their bioavailability may differ, depending on the current status of your health. And since people absorb nutrients in different ways, you should get mineral supplements that come with an entire range of sources.
Some products claim to have a lot of really good ingredients. Yet upon checking their labels, you may find that the individual amounts of these ingredients are so small that they couldn’t possibly impact your health in any way, let alone a therapeutic way. An arthritis supplement, for example, may claim to have a whole variety of great ingredients, such as 500 mg of glucosamine sulfate. If you have no knowledge about these things, you would probably be impressed. However, based on clinical trials, glucosamine sulfate can only help you if you take at least 1,500 mg of it. So even if you think you’re buying great product, you won’t really get anything from it. Don’t believe this kind of deceptive marketing.
Find out how much of each key nutrient you need so you can be guided while shopping for health supplements. Besides that, you also need to know how to correctly interpret the numbers associated with chelated minerals like magnesium succinate and calcium citrate. Remember that the doses listed for chelated minerals do not always indicate the mineral’s elemental amounts. When we say, “elemental,” we mean the actual mineral in a product, and not the total weight of the chelated mineral compound. For example, calcium carbonate has 40 percent elemental calcium–to get 500 mg of elemental calcium, it takes 1,250 mg of calcium carbonate.
If, on the label, you find “(blank) mg elemental calcium,” “(blank) mg calcium (from calcium carbonate),” or “(blank) mg calcium (as calcium carbonate),” that means you will be getting (blank) mg of elemental calcium. However, if on the label, it is written, “(blank) mg calcium carbonate,” it’s safe to assume that the total calcium amount is but 40 percent of that.
Yes, there has to be an expiration date for every health supplement product out there. While calcium and other minerals can stay potent for many years, vitamins B and C and certain other nutrients have a substantially shorter shelf life.
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