A supplement can mean a lot of different things depending on context so for the purposes of this article, I'd like to clarify the working definition we'll be using—"a substance taken to remedy the deficiencies in a person's diet." Pretty simple, right? Just like you'd get a second-job to supplement your income, sometimes you need a little extra something-something to supplement your diet. Problem is, there are SO many different varieties and brands out there boasting their positive results. How do you tell the companies looking to make a quick buck from those genuinely dedicated to bettering men's health? Well, it certainly can be an overwhelming process so we thought we'd lend a helping, healthy-hand!
Back to the definition of a supplement—the government takes it a little bit more seriously than we did in the previous paragraph, thankfully. As per The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, approved by Congress in 1994, a dietary supplement is defined as a product that:
- Are intended to supplement the diet
- Contain one or more ingredients (like vitamins, herbs, amino acids or their constituents)
- Are intended to be taken by mouth
- Are labeled as dietary supplements
Simply speaking, if a supplement you go to purchase deviates from any or all of those 4 things, do not consume or purchase. By using this vitamin and supplement search engine center you can properly research any vitamin, supplement name or medical condition associated with a particular deficiency.
Calcium — 220 Count/$9.99
- "Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work."
Indigestion. Taking calcium carbonate by mouth as an antacid is effective for treating indigestion.
High levels of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia). Giving calcium gluconate intravenously (by IV) can reverse hyperkalemia, a condition in which there is too much potassium in the blood.
Low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Taking calcium by mouth is effective for treating and preventing hypocalcemia. Also, giving calcium intravenously (by IV) is effective for treating very low levels of calcium.
Kidney failure. Taking calcium carbonate or calcium acetate by mouth is effective for controlling high phosphate levels in the blood in people with kidney failure. Calcium citrate is not effective for treating this condition.
To read a complete overview of calcium, head HERE
Vitamin D — 220 Count/$11.88
- "Vitamin D is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is also used for diabetes, obesity, muscle weakness, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and tooth and gum disease."
Low levels of phosphate in the blood due to an inherited disorder called familial hypophosphatemia. Taking vitamin D (calcitriol or dihydrotachysterol) by mouth along with phosphate supplements is effective for treating bone disorders in people with low levels of phosphate in the blood.
Low levels of phosphate in the blood due to a disease called Fanconi syndrome. Taking vitamin D (ergocalciferol) by mouth is effective for treating low levels of phosphate in the blood due to a disease called Fanconi syndrome.
Low blood calcium levels due to low parathyroid hormone levels. Low levels of parathyroid hormone can cause calcium levels to become too low. Taking vitamin D (dihydrotachysterol, calcitriol, or ergocalciferol) by mouth is effective for increasing calcium blood levels in people with low parathyroid hormone levels.
Softening of the bones (osteomalacia). Taking vitamin D (cholecalciferol) is effective for treating softening of the bones. Also, taking vitamin D (calcifediol) is effective for treating softening of the bones due to liver disease. In addition, taking vitamin D (ergocalciferol) is effective for treating softening of the bones caused by medications or poor absorption syndromes.
Psoriasis. Applying vitamin D or calcipotriene (a synthetic form of vitamin D) to the skin treats psoriasis in some people. Applying vitamin D to the skin together with cream containing drugs called corticosteroids seems to be more effective for treating psoriasis than using just vitamin D or the corticosteroid creams alone.
A bone disorder called renal osteodystrophy, which occurs in people with kidney failure. Taking vitamin D (calcifediol) by mouth manages low calcium levels and prevents bone loss in people with kidney failure. However, vitamin D does not appear to reduce the risk of death or bone pain in people with kidney failure.
Rickets. Vitamin D is effective for preventing and treating rickets. A specific form of vitamin D, calcitriol, should be used in people with kidney failure.
Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is effective for preventing and treating vitamin D deficiency.
For a complete overview of Vitamin D, head HERE
Fish Oil — 320 Count/$17.50
- "Fish oil can be obtained from eating fish or by taking supplements. Fish that are especially rich in the beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, cod liver, whale blubber, and seal blubber. Two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Make sure to see separate listings on EPA and DHA, as well as Cod Liver Oil, and Shark Liver Oil."
Heart disease. Research suggests that eating fish can be effective for keeping people with healthy hearts free of heart disease. People who already have heart disease might also be able to lower their risk of dying from heart disease by eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement. However, for people who already take heart medications such as a "statin" and those who already eat a decent amount of fish, adding on fish oil might not offer any additional benefit.
High triglycerides. Research suggests that fish oil from supplements and food sources can reduce triglyceride levels. The effects of fish oil appear to be the greatest in people who have very high triglyceride levels. Also the amount of fish oil consumed seems to directly affect how much triglyceride levels are reduced. One particular fish oil supplement called Lovaza has been approved by the FDA to lower triglycerides. A one-gram capsule of Lovaza contains 465 milligrams of EPA and 375 milligrams of DHA. But, a small study suggests that taking fish oil daily for 8 weeks might not reduce triglycerides in adolescents.
To read a complete overview of fish oil, head HERE
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) — 60 Count/$15.26
- "Conjugated linoleic acid refers to a group of chemicals found in the fatty acid linoleic acid. Dairy products and beef are the major dietary sources. Conjugated linoleic acid is used for cancer, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), obesity, weight loss caused by chronic disease, bodybuilding, and limiting food allergy reactions."
High blood pressure. Taking conjugated linoleic acid along with ramipril seems to reduce blood pressure more than ramipril alone in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Obesity. Taking conjugated linoleic acid by mouth daily might help decrease body fat in adults, but it does not seem to decrease body weight or body mass index (BMI) in most people. Conjugated linoleic acid might reduce feelings of hunger, but it’s not clear if this leads to reduced caloric intake. Taking conjugated linoleic acid does not seem to prevent weight gain in previously obese people who lost some weight.
For a complete overview of CLA, head HERE
Lead image via Getty.