There are supplements promising everything from great skin to increased libido. But are they really necessary?
American physician Daniel Fabricant answered this and other questions in the talk “Why Supplement? Myths and Facts on Nutritional Supplementation.” The two-day forum, presented by Healthy Options health store, was recently held in Makati Shangri-La Hotel and Cebu Marriott Hotel. It was attended by medical professionals and health enthusiasts alike.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines “dietary supplement” as “a product intended for ingestion that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to add further nutritional value to supplement the diet.”
According to the FDA, supplements—which come in forms such as tablets, capsules, gelcaps, liquids and powders—can help “reduce your risk of disease.”
Fabricant has been studying supplementation for years. In the United States, he is executive director and CEO of Natural Products Association, an organization that watches over natural-product providers. He also worked in the FDA as director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.
Fabricant answered common questions on supplements and clarified several misconceptions in the forum:
Do we have to take supplements?
“Ask yourself, did you eat three great meals today? A lot of us can’t because of time constraints. Can you get everything from food? Yes, but do you? No. That’s the reality of the situation,” he said.
Supplements are very personal; one’s need is different from the other, and we must “looks at things individually and objectively,” because while supplements help, they are not a cure-all.
Can multivitamins make you fat?
Multivitamins are something people need, unless you get 100 percent of the necessary nutrients from eating the correct food.
Before blaming multivitamins, check if you’ve been eating the right stuff, drinking enough water, exercising and resting regularly. Lack of discipline, not multivitamins, makes one fat.
Multivitamins for adults
Which supplements should people take?
“Multivitamins, for most adults. Folic acid for women who are expecting or planning to get pregnant. For people who are getting older, calcium and vitamin D for stronger bones.
“There’s good evidence for children needing Omega-3 for proper brain development. It’s also good for adults as protection from heart disease.”
Can you take supplements with coffee?
Fabricant said it’s okay to take supplements with coffee or caffeinated drinks, “unless you’re having four, five cups a day, which isn’t exactly good for you, too.”
Is it bad to take supplements all at the same time?
“Combining them shouldn’t be an issue, but if people are using them with prescription drugs, consult your doctor.”
Do fat-burners and skin-whitening capsules work?
“If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is,” Fabricant said. “If your doctor says it’s okay for you to take it, make sure to follow the instructions. Don’t take less or more.”
Do your own research
What does the “no approved therapeutic claims” label mean?
These are usually found on products with big promises. “No approved therapeutic claims” means you have to do your own research.
Is it okay to self-administer supplements?
“Ideally, you should talk to a doctor first. It’s also important that consumers know that regulations are in place with supplements which are available over-the-counter.
“People always think they’re going to get everything right. That’s not going to happen. People should look into their diets and make decisions based on that.”
Call Healthy Options at 6378888; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.healthyoptions.com.ph/stores for a list of branches.