Americans eat a lot of nutrition-stripped, processed food. In fact, it makes up at least 57% of the calories we consume.
That may account for the fact that 86% of Americans also take nutritional supplements, and nearly 25% of folks ages 60 and older take at least four.
But taking supplements is an imperfect insurance policy for a nutrition-deficient diet. And supplements, including vitamins, can be risky if you take too much of one or take supplements that the Food and Drug Administration has flagged as containing unauthorized ingredients.
It's been estimated that around 23,000 emergency room visits each year are caused by adverse reactions to supplements — often for weight loss, muscle-building, or energy boosting.
To make smart choices, the first stop is your doctor's office. Get a blood test to check for deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
The second stop is FDA.gov. Search for "Supplement Your Knowledge." You'll learn how supplements are regulated and what is safe. The FDA also offers "What's New in Supplements," which lets you discover the news, warnings, and research insights you need to know.
Another great place to get information is my new book, "The Great Age Reboot," which is coming out September 13. It has a section titled "Self-Engineer Your Medicine Cabinet" that explains the benefits and risks, as well as my recommendations for 15 common supplements.
Tell your doctor what supplements you take, get that blood test, and upgrade your diet. Then, if you need a nutritional boost, supplement wisely and effectively.