The Two Most Popular Supplements

By: Bel Marra Health | Functional Foods | Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 02:33 AM

Two Most Popular SupplementsGood health is strongly associated with eating healthy meals and performing regular exercises. The meals generally consist of various food groups, including protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. For those who feel that they are not eating enough fruits and vegetables on a regular basis and want to maintain good health, supplements are available in the form of fish oil and multivitamins. Fish oil is considered to be a good source of unsaturated fatty acids that can potentially prevent the development of heart disease. Multivitamins, on the other hand, serve as source of the essential vitamins that are commonly present in fruits and vegetables. For the busy working professional who has limited time to prepare homemade meals that include fruits and vegetables, taking fish oil and multivitamins could possibly serve as a remedy to correct the nutritional imbalances of the body.

The publicity for fish oil and multivitamins has grown in the last few decades, mainly due to the claim that these supplements prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer, similar to the effects of fruits and vegetables. In short, the use of fish oil and multivitamins has been linked to the promotion of good health. Initially, the number of medical reports exponentially increased, describing the positive influence of these supplements to good health. So does that mean a person can live a healthy lifestyle by simply taking enough capsules of fish oil and multivitamins to replace fruits and vegetables? This picture of an ultra-modern lifestyle is actually too good to be true.

The last few years have witnessed the release of medical reports describing the opposite or absence of effects of fish oil and multivitamins. Now why didn’t these reports appear years ago? It appears that the first positive reports about the supplements were reliable, but there was yet a need to fully examine its benefits in terms of specific populations and medical conditions. In addition, food supplements are not critically required to undergo clinical trials, similar to other prescription drugs, because these are generally natural compounds extracted from fruits and vegetables and packaged into capsules and tablets for distribution to the market. It is only now that biomedical researchers have looked into the actual effects of these supplements, especially when they noticed that not all patients benefit from its intake.

In a recent medical article published in the British Medical Journal, the effects of fish oil during pregnancy was examined in terms of promoting good health in infants. Specifically, this research wanted to determine if fish oil reduces allergic disease in the developing fetus when administered during pregnancy. This clinical trial recruited over 700 pregnant women and randomly assigned each study participant to one of two study groups. The first study group was given a daily dose of 900 milligrams of fish oil starting from the 7 month of pregnancy until birth, whereas the control group was given a daily dose of 900 mg of vegetable oil. The actual effects of the fish oil treatment were determined in the infants upon reaching one year old.

The results of the study showed that the infants from the fish oil treatment group did not differ from those of the control group in terms of allergic disease. Both groups showed good health and no major allergic diseases. However, simple skin irritations such as eczema were reported to be lower in incidence in the fish oil group. This study showed that taking supplements such as fish oil may or may not be beneficial for general good health and this mainly depends on the specific disease that one intends to prevent or augment. Taking supplements will therefore not serve as a general remedy for total good health, but will only enhance a specific health characteristic, such as what has been described in this medical journal article. In addition, this report also shows that the best measure for achieving good health is eating healthy meals that include fruits and vegetables. So the next time you drop by a health and nutrition store, think about the exact ailment you need to supplement. It could provide amazing benefits, but for good health on a general level you might enjoy eating fruits and vegetables.

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