Nutritional Supplements – Which Ones Should You Consider Adding to Your Diet?

As we begin a new year, a common resolution is to live a healthier lifestyle which often includes adding vitamins and supplements to your diet. But studies have shown that not all supplements are as effective as they claim and may do nothing to cure the ills that ail you. And since dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, there is also the potential for contamination or potency problems.

UConn Health Center registered dietitian Kelsey Mangano says research has shown there are specific supplements that may be helpful for most people.

Four Supplements to Consider for 2011:

  • Multivitamin (if your diet is lacking certain food groups)
  • Calcium (if you don’t eat dairy foods)
  • Vitamin D (especially for those in cold climates who may lack exposure to sunlight)
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (found in fish oil and may help prevent cardiovascular disease)

Many supplements contain ingredients that have strong biological effects, and such products may not be safe in all people. If you have certain health conditions and take these products, you may be putting yourself at risk. Taking a combination of supplements, using these products together with medicine, or substituting them in place of prescribed medicines could lead to harmful, even life-threatening, results.

Before Starting a Supplement:

  • Consult a doctor or registered dietitian.
  • Do you receive adequate amounts in your diet?
  • Refer to NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements, http://ods.od.nih.gov.
  • Read labels carefully.