Nutritional supplements are made to do just that — supplement the body with nutrients that are missing from your diet. But your best bet when it comes to supplements like vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3s, according to recent studies, may be to stick to what's in your food.
One finding from a US Preventive Services Task Force panel found that postmenopausal women who took low doses of calcium and vitamin D (lower than 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium) to prevent bone fractures saw no benefit and had an increased risk of developing kidney stones. The panel also stated that since not enough research is available for higher doses, they weren't able to make a recommendation when it comes to taking more than those lower doses.
Another review of three studies found that taking omega-3 supplements did little to help mental or cognitive skills in older adults who took a supplement for up to 3.5 years. The researchers did say, however, that long-term benefits could be possible — and not just with your smarts, since omega-3s help prevent heart disease and reduce joint pain as well.
In any case, getting your 600 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium naturally through what you eat is a foolproof way of reaping the benefits from these nutrients. Check out our list of foods high in Vitamin D and nondairy calcium sources, as well as how to prevent omega-3 deficiency, here.
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