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Nutrient Supplements:
How to Choose a Nutrient Supplement

Nutrient Supplements

“It is best to consult your doctor before starting to take any nutrient supplement,” says Dr. Steve Carroll in his book The Which? Guide to Men’s Health. “Products which contain only one type of vitamin or mineral may cause problems by increasing the body’s demand for other nutrients. Multi-vitamin and mineral preparations contain a variety of nutrients in different doses and combinations, which can be confusing.

“Some brands of supplement contain several times the recommended daily dose of a nutrient, which in certain circumstances could lead to unpleasant adverse effects,” says Dr. Carroll. “Too much of a vitamin or mineral can do more harm than good.” For example, in large amounts:

  • vitamin B6 may damage nerves, causing numbness, pins and needles and weakness
  • vitamin D may cause nausea, vomiting and muscle spasm
  • vitamin A may result in skin irritation and hair loss
  • iron may upset the digestive system, leading to diarrhea or constipation.

An unhealthy diet cannot be made healthy by taking a nutrient supplement. The right mixture of foods in a balanced diet provides not only the required vitamins and minerals, but also the correct proportion of fat, protein, and carbohydrate and fiber.

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