Operation Be Fit - Nutrition

Health in a Pill?

By: CPT Diane Ryan, MS, RD, Staff Dietitian

In todays 'get it and go' world many Americans opt to take nutritional supplements, specifically multivitamins, to help maintain or improve health.

Though the 'healthy lifestyle' is debatable, there is very little in a nutritional supplement that is 'organic'. Manufactured in labs with primarily synthetic ingredients, supplements may or may not be well utilized in the body. Evidence showing that supplements can lead to better health and help prevent disease is scarce. They can be costly and oftentimes do not contain the quantity of nutrients stated on the label. Supplements are not regulated the way food and drugs are. It is important to know what is in the bottle before spending any money. Supplements that have a seal of approval indicating they have been tested for purity are the safest options.

However, certain populations may benefit with nutritional supplements. Pregnant women and people with specific vitamin deficiencies should consider nutritional supplements. A person who has had a gastric bypass procedure, for example, should take vitamin B12 either by injection or sublingual because they cannot absorb B12 from foods sufficiently.

Bottom Line: Healthy eating is far and wide the best source of nutrition.

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