A Healthier U

THE TRUTH ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS
By Peak Health and Fitness

spoon with dietary supplements on fruits background
 
Are you considering taking vitamin or mineral supplements? Do you think you need them? Or that they “can’t hurt” so you may as well take them? Here are some questions to ask before you decide to take them.
 
1. Do I really need them?
Ideally, nutritional needs should be met by eating a variety of foods as outlined in the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If you are eating the recommended amount of a nutrient, you may not get any health benefit from taking a supplement. However, in some cases, vitamin/mineral supplements may be useful for providing nutrients that may otherwise be eaten in less than recommended amounts.The Dietary Guidelines for Americans makes these recommendations for certain groups of people. It is important to note that vitamin or mineral supplements are not a replacement for a healthful diet. Remember that in addition to vitamins and minerals, foods also contain hundreds of naturally occurring substances that can help protect your health.

2. Should I talk to my doctor about taking vitamin/mineral supplements?
Absolutely! You and your physician should work together to determine if a vitamin or mineral supplement is right for you. If you are already taking dietary supplements, you should talk to your doctor. Some supplements can cause side effects if taken with other medications or if certain health conditions exist. Even if you don’t take medication or have a chronic health problem, the wrong dietary supplement or the wrong amount, can cause problems. So definitely check with your doctor before taking a dietary supplement.

3. Where can I find scientifically sound information about vitamin/mineral supplements?
Your doctor is a good place to start. In addition, pharmacists and registered dietitians are helpful.
Online resources include:
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Medline Plus
The Food and Drug Administration

Interested in learning more? PEAK is offering two classes on this topic in October. This class is offered at no-cost for benefited university employees.

What’s Up with SUPs?
The supplement industry is a beast that continues to grow at a ridiculous pace in America. This exponential growth has led to an overwhelming amount of supplements on the market that can be confusing to any individuals and especially the athlete. In this class we will discuss supplement safety, quackery of the supplement industry and the effectiveness of individual supplements.
• Thursday, Oct. 1 | 5:30-6:15 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 8 | 5:30-6:15 p.m.

To register for your no-cost workshop, enter WELLU for the coupon code in the online registration system at tinyurl.com/nqwdmsp.

HealthFeedHOW DOES FAIR FOOD FARE?
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If you’re hearing the siren call of the Utah State Fair’s food trucks, we have some sobering statistics for you. Eating that deep-fried Twinkie can set you back 420 calories and pack in 34 grams of fat. And if you’re planning on attending the Utah Pork Producers Baconfest, pace yourself. A thick slice contains 65 calories, and let’s face it: Who eats just one piece? Arm yourself with the facts about fair food before you go.

Click here to see where other fair foods rank.

For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.

CONCERNS ABOUT HAND SANITIZERhand.sanitizer

Any parent knows that hand sanitizer can be a lifesaver when it comes to cleaning little hands, and eliminating germs on the go. However, they may not realize that it can pose a health threat to the very people they are trying to protect. Recently a 6-year-old-Georgia girl was rushed to the hospital after ingesting two to three pumps of hand sanitizer that left her seriously intoxicated. She wasn’t trying to get drunk; she just thought the strawberry scented sanitizer smelled good. Sherrie Pace of the Utah Poison Control Center says that is usually the case when hand sanitizer is ingested. “Some teens may be trying to get drunk, but the vast majority of hand sanitizer poison exposures in Utah are in kids under age 6 and are unintentional,” she says.

Hand sanitizer contains a high level of alcohol in order to kill germs – between 45 and 70 percent in most brands. In comparison, a typical alcoholic beverage contains between 5 and 12 percent alcohol.

As with other potential hazard, awareness is key. “Parents should be aware of the potential abuse of hand sanitizer,” says Pace. “If they buy a new bottle and it is gone very quickly, or comes up missing, it may be a red flag that someone is abusing the product.”

Pace also says that hand sanitizer should be treated as any other poison. “Keep it up and out of reach of small children.”

If a child does ingest hand sanitizer, callthe poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Specialists in poison information are available 24/7.