What To Look For When Buying Nutritional Supplements

There is always plenty of debate as to whether nutritional supplements are essential, or an insurance policy for just in case. People who skip meals, and whose diets are not well balanced could well be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Those with frantic, stressful lives, and those who are recovering from illnesses may also opt to use a vitamin supplement. Planning on supplementing your diet with additional vitamins and minerals? Read on for some handy hints.

Supplements are one instance where it can be worthwhile to select quality over budget. In the US, vitamin companies are not policed the same way as pharmaceutical companies, and supplements come under the same rulings as foods. It is always a great idea to stick with reputable and well known supplement companies. The USP seal of approval ensures that the supplement you are purchasing has the ingredients that it is supposed to, and at the stated dosages.

Supplement Safety

* Take as directed. Many people feel that more vitamins must be better for you. This is wrong. Some vitamins can be dangerous in large amounts. Stick to the recommended dosage. Note also whether you should be taking your supplement with or without meals.

* Expiry dates.
Many vitamins lose their potency over time. Be sure to select vitamins that have plenty of shelf life left. If there is no expiry date on the label or bottle, purchase something else.

* Avoid mega doses. Generally, it is not wise to take supplements that provide over 100% RDA (recommended daily allowance) of anything. In fact, recent studies have revealed that taking mega doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful. For more information about on antioxidant supplements this click here.

* Take extra care when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pregnant and nursing women should only take supplements that are specifically designed for this situation. These women should check with their medical providers before taking any medications.

* Do not mix with other medications.
Certain over the counter and prescription medications can have adverse reactions when combined with supplements. Some medications can be made more powerful and some can stop working altogether. People already taking medications in any form should check with their doctor or pharmacist before adding supplements. Blood thinners, heart medications, steroids, the Pill, some cancer treatments, diuretics, and immuno-suppressing drugs are some examples (but by no means all) of the medicines that can be effected by supplements.

* Pre-surgery. Anyone who is going to be having surgery should definitely check with their surgeon about the safety of their supplements as some can cause surgical complications including thinning of the blood.

* Storage. Supplements can easily be damaged by heat and light. Store in a cool dark environment away from the reaches of children. Some supplements even require storage in the refrigerator.


It is always a great idea when purchasing nutritional supplements to stick with reputable high quality companies and brand names that you know to ensure a superior and safe product. Be wary of supplements that are close to expiry, contain mega doses, or exceed the recommended daily allowance.

Are There Any Dangers Or Benefits Of Antioxidants As Supplements?

The many benefits of antioxidants have been well documented over recent years. Antioxidants have been promoted as anti-aging, anti heart disease, repairing cell damage, scavenging up free radicals, fighting off cancers, and preventing many other disorders. We have all been told that consuming antioxidants will make us look younger, feel younger, and increase our longevity.

As a result of this, the promotion and sale of antioxidant supplements have risen dramatically. Until recently, everybody assumed that taking antioxidant supplements would benefit their health. However, recent medical studies have shown that antioxidant supplements, as opposed to natural antioxidants found in foods, may actually be a danger to your health.

While there is no health problems associated with eating naturally found antioxidants in foods, it would appear that exceeding the daily recommended doses of supplemented, or synthetic, Vitamins A and E, and beta carotene can be extremely detrimental to your health. Vitamin C and selenium, which are also considered to be antioxidants do not appear to be detrimental.

These highly regarded US medical authorities have the following to say about synthetic antioxidants:

The Mayo Clinic website: “… There’s no proof that antioxidants in pill form can improve your general health or extend your life. In fact, they can have the opposite effect.”

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) does not advise antioxidant supplements due to long term safety concerns and insufficient evidence to prove their effectiveness.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends obtaining antioxidants from food sources, and not from synthetic supplements.

Maximum daily recommendations of supplements are 1000mg Vitamin C, 800 micrograms Vitamin A, 540 mg Vitamin E, and 350 micrograms selenium.

However, there is even more ongoing medical research to suggest that consuming antioxidants in their natural form is extremely beneficial for your health. These foods listed below are well known for containing naturally high levels of antioxidants.

* Fruits high in antioxidants include: blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, apples (especially Granny Smith, gala, and red delicious), dates, cherries, peaches, figs, oranges, apricots, pears, mango, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, pineapple, and grapefruit. Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, raisins, apples, and peaches are also rich in antioxidants.

* Vegetables
high in antioxidants are: artichokes, broccoli, carrots, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, beetroot, avocado, lettuce, sweet potato, squash, potatoes, brussel sprouts, kale, peppers, spinach, parsley, eggplant, and corn.

* Nuts are a great source of antioxidants: almonds, cashews, macadamia, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachio, and pecans.

* Beans high in antioxidants include: kidney, black-eyed peas, red, black, and pinto.

* Beverages such as tea and green tea are well documented as being rich in antioxidants. Just remember that the minute you add milk the antioxidants are lost. Other drinks include juices such as pink grapefruit, pomegranate, tomato, apple, and cider. The great news is that beer and red wine also contain antioxidants (always remember to drink your alcohol in moderation).

* Other foods including oats, legumes, barley, and sunflower seeds are also great for antioxidants.

Antioxidants can be found in many forms and varieties of foods. Look for fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables for the highest levels of antioxidants. If you are concerned about the health benefits of antioxidant supplements, why not consume antioxidants in their natural form? Fresh quality foods are always going to be better for your health than something out of a bottle which is synthetic and manufactured.