Vitamins and Supplements: What You Need to Know
Dec 17, 2013 - 1:12:20 PM

( - How do you choose the right vitamin brand? Let's back up: How do you even know which vitamins you should be taking? Holistic pharmacist Sherry Torkos has been asked these questions hundreds of times throughout her career. She's come up with a clever response: Remember the first five letters of the alphabet.

A: Analyze why you want to take this vitamin. "Understand what to expect from taking this supplement," says Torkos. "For example, a good quality fish oil supplement may help to lower your triglyceride levels but will have no impact on your HDL cholesterol."

B: Beware of interactions and side effects. "Some vitamins, such as vitamin K, may not be recommended if you are also taking a blood thinning medication. St. John's wort may reduce the effectiveness of anti-depressants and birth control pills."

C: Check for the letters cGMP on the label or packaging. "They indicate the product has passed current Good Manufacturing Practices quality testing. Other seals of approval may be: USP, CL or NSF."

D: Dose. "Know the proper dosage. Taking more than the recommended amount may jeopardize your health. Taking a supplement consistently also matters."

E: Expiration dates. "All vitamins and supplements have expiration dates printed on the box, bottle or label. Always discard them after that date."

Torkos offers her advice on some of the most commonly purchased vitamins:

And always talk with your doctor about any vitamin and/or dietary supplements you are taking. Used properly, dietary supplements can be smart additions to a healthy lifestyle. To learn more about the research on tocotrienol's health benefits,

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