Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. But, unlike pharmaceutical laboratories, the manufacturers of these products do not have to prove the effectiveness of their products, only that they are safe – and this is for new supplements only.
We wanted to know which supplements were worth our attention (and our money), so we asked six scientists — experts in everything from public health to exercise physiology — to name one supplement they take every day and why. they take it. Here is what they said.
Simon Bishop, Lecturer in Public Health and Primary Care, Bangor University
Turmeric is best known as an ingredient in South Asian cuisine, adding a heat and earthy flavor to curry dishes, but in recent years it has also gained attention for its potential health benefits. I’ve been taking ground turmeric root as a dietary supplement for about two years, but have been interested in its use in Ayurvedic medicine for much longer.
Turmeric is used as a traditional remedy in many parts of Asia for reduce inflammation and help wounds heal. Now, more and more evidence suggests that curcumin, a substance in turmeric, may also help protect against a range of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, dementia and certain cancers.
The evidence supporting these claims of health benefits is inconclusive, but it’s compelling enough that I continue to take turmeric every morning, with my first cup of coffee – another habit that could kill me. to help. live a little longer.
Graeme Close, Professor of Human Physiology, Liverpool John Moores University
Vitamin D is a special vitamin in that it is synthesized in our body with the help of sunlight, so people who live in cold countries or spend a lot of time indoors may to suffer from a deficiency. people with darker complexion are also at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency because melanin slows the skin’s production of vitamin D. It is estimated that approximately a billion people are vitamin deficient.
Most people are aware that we need enough vitamin D to maintain healthy bones, but in recent years scientists have become increasingly aware of vitamin D’s other important roles. We now believe Vitamin D deficiency can lead to less effective immune system, impaired muscle function and regenerationand even depression.
Vitamin D is one of the cheapest supplements and it is a very simple deficiency to correct. I used to test myself for deficiencies, but now – because I live in the UK where sunlight is scarce between October and April, and there isn’t enough UVB radiation in those months cold – I supplement with a dose of 50 micrograms, per day, throughout the winter. I also advise elite athletes to whom I provide nutritional support to do the same.
Justin Roberts, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Anglia Ruskin University
Having various beneficial gut bacteria is important for your physical and mental health. However, the balance of bacterial species can be disturbed by poor diet, to be physically inactive and being under constant stress. One way to support gut health is to consume dietary probiotics (live bacteria and yeast), such as yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.
I first discovered probiotics after years of training in triathlons, often experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms — such as nausea and stomach cramps — after training and racing. I was also more susceptible to colds. After researching the area, I was surprised how many people have similar experiences. gastrointestinal problems after exercise. Now I’ve found that taking a probiotic regularly eases my post-workout symptoms and benefits my overall health.
A recent study showed that taking a probiotic at night with food, over 12 weeks of exercise training, reduced gastrointestinal issues in beginning triathletes.
A great deal of research also supports the use of probiotics for general health benefits, including improve gut health, boost immune response and lower serum cholesterol.
Neil Williams, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, Nottingham Trent University
Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that act as “fertilizer” to increase the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This in turn can have positive effects on inflammation and immune function, metabolic syndrometo augment mineral absorptionreduce traveler’s diarrhea and improve gut health.
I first encountered prebiotics in my research aimed at targeting the gut microbiota in athletes with exercise-induced asthma. Previous research had shown that asthma patients had altered gut microbiotaand it has been shown that giving prebiotics to mice improve their allergic asthma. Taking this as a starting point, we showed that taking prebiotics for three weeks could reduce the severity of exercise-induced asthma in adults. by 40%. Participants in our study also noted improvements in eczema and allergy symptoms.
I add prebiotic powder to my coffee every morning. I found it reduced my hay fever symptoms in the summer and my likelihood of catching a cold in the winter.
Haleh Moravej, Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University
I started taking omega 3s after attending a Nutrition Society winter conference in 2016. The scientific evidence that omega 3s could improve my brain function, prevent mood disorders and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease was overwhelming. After analyzing my diet, it was obvious that I was not getting enough omega 3 fatty acids. A healthy adult should get a minimum of 250-500mgDaily.
Omega 3 is a form of fatty acid. It comes in many forms, two of which are very important for brain development and mental health: EPA and DHA. These types are mainly found in fish. Another type of omega 3 – ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) – is found in plant-based foods, such as nuts and seeds, including walnuts and flax seeds. Due to my busy schedule as a lecturer, during school terms my diet is not as varied and enriched with omega 3 fatty acids as I would like, which forces me to choose a supplement. I take one 1200mg capsule daily.
Nothing but real food
Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London
I used to take supplements, but six years ago I changed my mind. After searching my book I realized that clinical studies, when properly conducted and independent of manufacturers, clearly showed that they did not work and in many cases could be harmful. Multivitamin studies show that regular users are more likely to die of cancer or heart disease, for instance. the only one exception is supplements to prevent blindness due to macular degeneration, where randomized trials have been generally positive for minor effect with a blend of antioxidants.
In many cases, there is experimental evidence that these chemicals in supplements work naturally in the body or as food, but no strong evidence that when given in concentrated form in tablet form, they provide any benefit. Recent evidence shows that high doses of certain supplements can even be harmful, such as calcium and vitamin D. Rather than taking expensive and ineffective synthetics, we should be getting all the nutrients, microbes and vitamins we need by eating a range of real foods, as evolution and nature intended.