Millions of Americans take a supplement daily to maintain the essential nutrients our bodies need and improve overall health, but not all are as safe and effective as advertised. Some provide no benefits, while others can cause harmful side effects. Eat this, not that! Health spoke to pharmacists who reveal which supplements to avoid and why. Read on – and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss this one Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Andy Boysandirector and chief pharmacist at The independent pharmacy say, “Vitamin A supplements should be carefully monitored when taken by older people, especially the elderly. While the vitamin promotes good eyesight and a healthy immune system, it may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-weakening condition. Of course, our bones naturally weaken as we age, but the condition can quickly exacerbate this process by making bones very fragile and prone to fracture. In a few years, pain, difficulty walking and weakness can all lead to loss of independence.”
dr. Boysan tells us, “Calcium is beneficial for bone health, tooth strength and weight management, all of which are common concerns as we age. In contrast, calcium supplements have a number of risks for those over 50, such as heart attacksadding to the already increased risk associated with aging.”
dr. Pana NinaniPharmD, BS Functional Medicine Practitioner and Pharmacist tells us, “Multivitamins are taken to provide our bodies with important minerals or vitamins that we may be missing in our diet. The problem is that the multivitamin is synthetic or artificial; Created to mimic nature’s vitamins and minerals. Synthetic vitamins may not be absorbed as well as nature’s vitamins. Much of what we buy is excreted rather than absorbed. It’s always best to get your vitamins by choosing a variety of real, whole foods.”
According to dr. boysan, St. John’s wort, taken as a tea or as a supplement, can help with symptoms of depression, lung problems, and kidney problems. However, when combined with some antidepressants, the results can be deadly if your serotonin levels get dangerously high. Before taking St. John’s wort, older adults should people who have been taking antidepressants for years should seek professional advice.”
Brain health is vital to our overall well-being, but dr. Ani RostomyanDoctor of Pharmacy, Holistic Pharmacist, and Functional Medicine Practitioner warns that prevagen is not the way to improve memory.
Prevagen is a product marketed for memory enhancement, a once-daily supplement that is available as oral capsules or chewable tablets. Each version contains 50 mcg (2,000 units) of vitamin D3 (as D3 cholecalciferol) and varying amounts of Apoaequorin, a protein found in certain species of jellyfish. The three different strengths of Prevagen contain either 10mg, 20mg or 40mg Apoaequorin.
A study by Kuzma et al. from 2017 found possible correlation between moderate or severe vitamin D deficiency and visual memory loss. The study authors noted that this finding does not mean that low vitamin D levels cause memory loss and called for further research in this area. Based on this and other similar studies, some OTC manufacturers are promoting taking vitamin D to prevent memory loss. However, there are no studies showing that regular use of this supplement prevents memory loss.
Apoaequorin is a protein found in a type of jellyfish, which is similar to a protein in our bodies called calmodulin, and is believed to play a substantial role in improving memory. When taken orally, most of the bioavailability is reduced due to interaction with gastric acid and liver enzymes and it is not known what percentage actually reaches systemic circulation. The evidence for memory enhancement is based on a small study, published in 2016, which lasted only 90 days, comparing 10 mg of apoaequorin per day with placebo. In my opinion as a pharmacist, 90 days is not a valid time frame to assess memory improvement and the study did not use validated standardized memory assessment questionnaires. The evidence behind the claims of improving memory is inconsistent and valid, and the product is not FDA-approved for memory loss.”
According to Harvard Health“The US Federal Trade Commission was not convinced of the supplement’s benefits. It accused the supplement maker of false advertisements in 2012. In its legal files, the company was accused of selectively reporting data and misleading the public, though it claims it is “clinically proven” that Prevagen improves cognitive function. The lawsuit has not yet been decided.”
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather is currently a freelancer for several publications. read more