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How To Choose Nutritional Supplements

Posted Oct 19 2009 10:02pm

Walk through any supermarket or retail chain store and you will find rows of health supplements; in fact, go to the mall and you will find entire stores dedicated to them. It is absolutely mind boggling how many there are to choose from, and it leaves a person wondering if they should buy several supplements for their health, or go with a once-a-day vitamin to cure all their nutritional ailments.

In theory, a nutritional supplement is supposed to supply nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and amino acids, that are missing from a person's diet and are essential for someone's health. Herbal supplements are also included under the umbrella term "supplements."

Most herbs and botanicals that are found in these supplements are naturally occurring in different parts of the world. Somewhere along the way, someone came up with the idea of bottling and selling them. Some Supplements claim to help you reduce your risk of just about everything, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anxiety and fatigue. And there are also supplements that claim to help increase your motivation, concentration, and your metabolism. So, which do you choose?

First, before you buy anything, you should assess exactly what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Choosing supplements that are designed to work to lower your blood pressure are not going to help with your cholesterol problem. Next, talk to your doctor about your health, if for no other reason than to let them know what you are taking. Sometimes naturally occurring substances, no matter how harmless they seem, can have an adverse reaction to your health when mixed with prescribed medication.

So, when searching for supplements specifically to keep your heart healthy, you should look for those that contain ingredients that address the major risk factors that can lead to heart disease. These include: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, stress and physical inactivity.

Without a doubt, there are a lot to choose from, and you must be careful that you don't get caught buying a product that will provide no benefit at all. Make sure that the company producing the vitamins has published clinical trials of their studies related to the product.

In order for one of these studies to get published in a scientific journal the scientific community as a whole must agree upon the findings. There are not very many natural health companies with published studies. Most companies hire their own scientists and do biased testing on their products.

However, within the good natural health companies there are a number of great products that have been designed by nutritionists and researchers to naturally lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, reduce stress and increase energy levels throughout the day; as a direct result, these also encourage an increase in physical activity. Some supplements that do just that are Green Tea, folic acid, magnesium, and C and B vitamins.

If stress and anxiety seem to plague your health, don't worry, there's a natural supplement for that. For anyone, you know that short-term stress is unavoidable. Sometimes, chronic or long term stress can be caused by your job, financial worries and your personal relationships. This too may be unavoidable.

Without a major life change, it is often impossible to alter these specific situations; luckily, it is possible to change the way you respond to them. Chronic stress can also lead to depression, which often accompanies heart disease.

One of the supplements you can take to help with anxiety is Ginkgo Biloba, combined with ginger. This supplement has been shown to reduce anxiety caused by chronic stress. Individuals in chronic stress situations should also consider taking extra vitamin C because stress quickly zaps the level of vitamin C in your blood stream. A lack of vitamin C can lead to low energy and can mimic the symptoms of iron deficiency, so it may be worth a check with your doctor to rule out anemia.

In addition to all the above, it is also important to note that a recent 2007 study found that regular supplementation with vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin A increased mortality by four, seven, and 16 percent respectively. Not only can supplements help you have more energy and feel better, they can help you live longer too! Who can argue with that?

Overall, most agree that supplements are a good way to fill in the health gaps that your not-always-balanced diet leaves behind. In addition, for those times when you are not able to get a good night's sleep, or you are suffering from a bad week at work, these natural products can help ease your anxiety and make you feel as though you are back on a level playing field.

When it comes to your health you just can't neglect your body and what you are putting into it.

To Your Health,
Diet Health & Fitness
'Blog Squad'
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