Supplements under the microscope

By Drum Digital
15 October 2014

Using pills to help keep you and your kids healthy is a popular move in this day and age, but you want to make sure the products you’re splurging on are actually beneficial.

Below we list some of the best and worst options, recommended by Women’s Health magazine. Remember though: no pill is a substitute for a healthy diet, rich in fruit and vegetables.

Goodies:

There are some must-haves to aid your weight, but not all of them are the obvious choice. Cinnamon for example helps lower your blood pressure, fight food cravings and balance out your blood-sugar levels.

We all know green tea is advised when it comes to keeping those pounds off, so having it in pill form has the same effects. The polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG for short) has been scientifically proven to boost metabolism, and it also sheds fat.

Want to keep a bad mood at bay? 5-hydroxytryptophan will uplift your spirits as it raises serotonin levels, the hormone which contributes towards depression if levels are low or imbalanced. Unlike St John’s Wort, 5-HTP can be taken alongside contraception and not put you at risk. Magnesium can also help in this area, being known to assist sleep and for its calming properties. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a collection of symptoms which women suffer around their cycle, and imbalances of magnesium have been linked to it, so keep your levels stable if you experience monthly problems.

For overall health, try some of the staples. There’s iron, which helps transport oxygen around the body and keeps you energised, Vitamin D3 is the most absorbable option of the D variety and protects against bone and heart disease, while Vitamin B can prevent degenerative brain conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Baddies:

As mentioned above, St John’s Wort can halt the workings of some prescription drugs or reduce their effectiveness, so could have irreversible results if you’re not careful.

Calcium capsules aren’t as beneficial as drinking milk or nibbling on a piece of cheese on a regular basis. It’s not just found in dairy; foods such as dried figs and kale also have high levels.

Vitamin A is also one to be wary of, as it’s easy to take too many, and high levels may cause liver damage. It does have good results such as improving the immune system health and cell growth, but stick to it in a natural form like sweet potato and carrots.

Same goes for Vitamin E, unless you’ve been advised by a professional to up your intake. Too much could lead to blood clots or thrombosis.

Chitosan is taken for weight loss, but as it does its job it also removes good fats. Don’t risk it!

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