From TV spots to social media accounts, you’ll see a number of supplements celebrities and influencers swear by, but do they really work? Last year, Smart Parenting wrote about a research, which showed that the most common supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and multivitamins provided no benefits when it came to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or premature death.
For the study, which is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers analyzed over 150 clinical trials from January 2012 to October 2017. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm — but there is no apparent advantage either,” says Dr. Jenkins.
The team, however, found that folic acid may reduce the risk of heart disease. (If you’re preparing your body for pregnancy or are already pregnant, taking folic acid is recommended.) And, “niacin (vitamin B3) and antioxidants showed a very small effect that might signify an increased risk of death from any cause,” reads the news release.
The research hasn't stopped people from taking supplements. For anyone who fears he or she may not be getting their daily recommended vitamins and minerals, a supplement can be the next best thing. But now what to take?
We asked fitness professionals about the supplements they take. Here's what they said:
Iya Lagdameo, 36, owner of Plana Forma
A mom of three little children, Iya says the sniffles are always around so she takes vitamin supplements to hopefully boost her immune system. “Right now I take Manuka honey, vitamin C, and a 4-in-1 tea that consists of ginger, lemongrass, malunggay, and turmeric.”
According to Health.com, Manuka honey is a type of honey native to New Zealand. Though honey contains natural antibacterial qualities, manuka honey is thought to be an even stronger infection fighter. Its main medical use is for treating minor wounds and burns, according to WebMD, but it’s also used for other conditions like preventing and treating cancer, reducing high cholesterol, reducing inflammation, treating diabetes and gastrointestinal problems, and treating eye, ear, and sinus infections. However, evidence is limited on whether it really works for these conditions.
Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins to keep your immune system at its optimal condition, according to Healthline. It helps in the production of white blood cells, which is the body’s first and primary defense against viruses and bacteria. It’s an essential vitamin, meaning it can’t be produced by the body, but it is found in most citrus fruits like oranges, pomelo, and calamansi. It’s also found in vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
Moringa or malunggay, is rich in healthy antioxidants and vitamins, as is lemongrass. Turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can also help relieve nausea and lower blood sugar.
Chantal Umali, 34, yoga teacher and trainer
The mom of one shares that she became keen on taking vitamins after she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. “The vitamins really help to slow down the development of my condition. It’s been really essential to my health,” she shares. Her current daily vitamin intake includes vitamin C and D, Collagen, and vitamin B Complex.
Vitamin D, which she thinks is important because “we’re not exposed to healthy doses of sunshine as much anymore.” Vitamin D helps improve immune function and the absorption of calcium in the bones, according to Chantal. It also helps with DNA repair.
Collagen contains two amino acids — proline and glycine — which are essential to the formation and repair of joints, bones, muscles, and tendons. “It also helps with skin elasticity, and is great for those of us who are physically active,” adds Chantal.
B vitamins are a group of nutrients that play many important roles in the body. They include:
- Thiamine - converts nutrient into energy
- Riboflavin - an antioxidant that converts food into energy
- Niacin - aids metabolism, DNA production, and repair
- Pantothenic acid - aids in hormone and cholesterol production
- Pyridoxine - helps in amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production, and the creation of neurotransmitters
- Biotin – essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism
- Folate – needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells, and proper cell division
- Cobalamin – important for neurological function, DNA production, and red blood cell development
Another vitamin that Chantal thinks is important is omega-3, which you can get from healthy food like fish, walnuts, and soybeans. “It helps with inflammation, maintaining our sugar levels, and slows down muscular degeneration,” she says.(Omega-3 also has a huge potential in reducing the risk of premature birth. Read more here.)
Kat Garcia, 36, celebrity fitness trainer
You’d think that a fitness trainer would be at the peak of health, but Kat Garcia, whose clients include celebrities like Kathryn Bernardo, Jessy Mendiola, and Bettina Carlos, found out that she lacked zinc and needed glutathione after taking a nutrient deficiency test.
Zinc helps the immune system fight off infection, and it is needed for the body’s defensive system to properly work. Pregnant women also need zinc as it’s vital for baby’s development.
While some women take glutathione to lighten the skin tone, it’s an antioxidant that may help protect against free radicals, which are harmful molecules created by toxins in the environment. It can also help reduce cell damage.
Kat stresses it is important to consult with your doctor first before ingesting any type of supplements. “You can’t really experiment because it can either heal you or harm you,” she says.
It is only when the doctor has analyzed that your daily diet does not provide your body with enough nutrients do supplements become necessary. “There isn’t sufficient data to suggest that healthy people benefit by taking certain vitamin or mineral supplements in excess of the daily recommended allowance,” says the American Heart Association.
“You should ideally try to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through your diet rather than supplements,” says Dr. Howard D. Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Food is still the best source of nutrients!
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.