Supplements can either be significantly helpful, ineffective, or harmful. A piece of evidence published in 2000 by the LA Times highlighted the potential harm of taking supplements on a regular basis. The article cited a study which concluded that 500 mg doses of vitamin C taken daily accelerated arterial plaque formation for that study population. In another study, routine doses of vitamin A resulted in a higher risk for lung cancer, which was the opposite of what was expected given that vitamin A is also known to be protective against cancer. This data conflicts with other data showing protective benefits of vitamins. The data is therefore conflicting, which means that we should exercise caution in the use of supplement prescriptions.
However, supplements can be beneficial when a number of circumstances are satisfied. Here are a few fundamental guidelines to help you experience the best benefit while using supplements:
They should be prescribed by a medical professional
Search for brands that create supplements close to their natural form
Quality control manufacturing standards should be rigorous and tested by an independent third-party
They should be taken for a specific purpose and specified duration
They should be prescribed with an intended outcome in mind
As products of nature, one of our goals should be to live in harmony with nature. Respect for nature by organizing our lifestyles around its observable principles is the highest form of appreciation we can pay to our environment that also greatly facilitates health. The most harmonious way to obtain the appropriate amount of nutrients is to consume whole foods. This is because plants contain the natural, complex forms of nutrients that we need for survival. At the end of the day, remember that nothing beats a strong diet, but the right supplements can help significantly, especially if you’re under periods of stress and need a tool for a specific action.