We’ve gotten used to popping pills for any reason and the diet supplement market has exploded over the years. Just go into your favorite market or drug store and see how much shelf space is allocated to vitamins. We love our supplements and sometimes forget that instead of popping a pill, supplements are found in basic food groups that we should be eating every day and perhaps could eliminate that pill.
Here are some examples of diet supplements that may not do exactly what we think they do.
Vitamin C: Found in citrus such as an orange. It is an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals. In supplement form does not appear to prevent cancer, disease or colds. May shorten duration of colds if taken before symptoms arise.
Calcium: Found in dairy products. A mineral that strengthens bones and teeth. In supplement form promotes bone health and may lower rush of high blood pressure, but does not appear to reduce the risk if heart disease or stroke. Appears to raise rush of kidney stones.
Vitamin E: Found in almonds. Antioxidant that aids the immune system. In supplement form doesn’t appear to lower risk of heart disease or cancer or maintain cognitive function. May increase risk of some cancers such as prostate.
Folate: Found in leafy greens such as spinach. A member of the B vitamin family that helps make and keep new cells healthy. In supplement form in pregnant women protects against common birth defects in fetuses. Currently being tested to see whether it prevents heart disease and cancer.