FRIDAY FIXES OR FADS? Healthy Supplements

Popeye was portrayed for having a strong affinity for spinach, and would gain super-human size and strength after consuming it. Because of that, consumption of spinach increased by 33% as Popeye gained popularity in the 1930s. 

Fast forward today, we see ads for "natural" supplements that promise to make you thinner, more muscular, smarter, or energized. BUT supplement makers DO NOT have to test their products for safety or purity before putting them on the market. The fact that something is natural or herbal doesn’t mean it’s safe or that it lives up to its claims. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement - they can help you understand which supplements are best for you. Some supplements can interact with medicines or have other side effects.

 Normally you would get all the nutrients you need from a balanced diet. However, taking supplements can provide additional nutrients when your diet is lacking or when certain health conditions cause you to develop an insufficiency or deficiency. Multi-vitamin supplements provide all the basic micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) your body needs. These multiple vitamins are generally safe because they contain only small amounts of each nutrient.

Be a smart consumer. Don't just rely on a product's marketing. Look for objective, research-based information to evaluate a product's claims. And as always, The Saving Asian always recommends consulting your trusted health-care provider(s)!

See the source image


Internet "experts" swear by it but there are no known benefits of coconut oil. Coconut oil is 82% saturated fat (which is 30% more than butter). The Amerian Heart Association recommends avoiding it.

A study at the Mayo Clinic showed that people on coconut oil diets showed higher arterial fat after just one meal, it can increase cholesterol and, if it is not reducing your caloric intake, coconut oil can actually lead to weight gain.

Using it as part of your skincare regimen?
Coconut oil is occlusive. This means it creates a barrier that traps moisture beneath the skin. When you spread coconut oil all over your face, you’re also trapping dirt and bacteria while clogging the hell out of your pores. So PLEASE STOP using coconut oil as your moisturizer or makeup remover.

See the source image


Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can slash your risk of heart attack by 30%, due to an abundance of antioxidants (nutrients that cool inflammation and reduce plaque in your arteries). However research shows that antioxidants like Vitamins A, C and E and beta-carotene have no heart benefits when taken in pill form. High doses could indirectly hurt heart health by messing with the natural production of antioxidants.

See the source image


Fiber helps control cholesterol and lower diabetes risk BUT if you pack fiber into snack bars and other sweets, the sugar can do more damage than the fibers does good. The FDA allows food with added fiber to have heart-health claims on the labels, you should also focus on the sugar level when assessing a food to buy.

See the source image


51% of 35 - 64 year old use a blood pressure monitor at home but 70% of home devices were off by at least 5 points. Compare results with a doctor's monitor during your yearly physical. You may simply need a bigger blood-pressure cuff.

See the source image

These supplements DO NOT lower heart attack risk at all.  Over-the-counter supplements aren't regulated so it's not always clear what you're getting. Eat fish, not pills.
See the source image


A handful of nuts can help cut heart attack risk by 30%. Nuts are high in calories, which could lead to weight gain, but could undermine any heart benefits you might otherwise see.

See the source image

1-2 days: 30 minutes mod-intense exercise (ie: brisk walk)
1 day: 30 minutes of internal training (4 minutes of  high-speed walking, broken up by a slower pace to recover).
1-2 days: strength training sessions using weights or exercise machines.

See the source image

This involves putting a large volume of liquid into the rectum to detoxify the body, enhance immunity and fight disease. It's based off the misinformation that "things" sit in your colon for years. Risk includes cramping, pain, nausea, potentially electrolyte imbalance, renal failure and gut formations.

See the source image


 These nondigestabble fiber compounds promise to decrease inflammation and lower your risk of disease. These supplements are expensive. You may not need to promote the growth of bacteria they're promising to promote. Instead, eat foods that are rich in prebiotics (garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, etc) instead.


DO NOT trust Google or anything you read online until you confirm with your physician. There's nothing more irritating than hearing a patient say "I read on Google..." or "Someone at Whole Foods said...". Unless they have a M.D., or D.O after their name, don't trust the internet "expert" behind a computer screen. Just because it "supposedly" worked for them doesn't mean it will work for you. 

With that being said, I've work at a few physician's offices for over 7 years and I'm glad to share any information (to my knowledge) you may have about anything.