No two bodies are alike. While that may seem like an obvious statement, most people treat their own body as if it has the exact same needs as everyone else’s.
We see this a lot when people attempt to lose weight. Maybe you can relate: You try the latest diet or exercise fad because celebrities testify it worked for them, but it inevitably fails because it wasn’t designed to address your individual metabolism.
At Lakewood Ranch Health in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, our approach to health care breaks the mold of traditional medicine.
Dr. Leo Kao and our team treat every patient as a unique individual, which means we spend time getting to know you and your personal health history, and we delve into the underlying causes of any symptoms you’re experiencing.
If you’re trying to reach a healthy weight, this approach is the only way to truly understand how your body metabolizes food and which obstacles are blocking your efforts. Our medically supervised weight loss program is the key to unlocking these factors.
If you’re having trouble losing weight or are suffering from chronic health conditions due to a hormonal imbalance, Dr. Kao can restore proper balance and function with hormone replacement therapy.
And if nutrient deficiencies are responsible for your poor health, or you just want to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients, we can help with that, too. Nutritional supplements help ensure your body has all it needs to heal injuries and fight off disease.
But don’t just go to your local drugstore and pick random vitamins off the shelf, and don’t trust social media influencers to give you medical advice.
Here, Dr. Kao takes a closer look at supplements and how to choose the right ones for your specific nutritional needs.
Do you really need supplements?
Around half of all Americans take supplements, such as calcium, vitamins, herbs, and minerals, but not everyone actually needs supplements.
Most healthy adults get all they need from the food they eat. So, who needs supplements? The following folks are potential candidates:
- Elderly people
- People who limit their diets (vegetarians and vegans, for example)
- Pregnant women
- Gastric surgery patients
Certain diseases, such as celiac disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune disorders, and genetic conditions, can also rob you of essential nutrients.
And if you don’t eat a healthy diet or have limited access to healthy food, you may need supplements.
Signs you may need supplements
If your body lacks essential nutrients, it lets you know. You may notice:
- Joint pain
- Bone pain
- Chronic fatigues
- Severe hair loss
- Slow-healing wounds
- Changes in your vision
- Irregular heartbeat
Dr. Kao can often confirm vitamin and mineral deficiencies with a simple blood test.
How to choose the right supplements
At Lakewood Ranch Health, we do more than identify nutrient deficiencies and tell you what to buy. We do a deep dive into your DNA to make sure you get exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
We partner with VitaminLab™, a leading dietary supplement manufacturer that customizes supplements based on your body chemistry. VitaminLab uses Dr. Kao’s lab tests to formulate a powder or capsule just for you. One supplement contains all the nutrients you need, so you don’t need to take multiple pills.
Another reason Dr. Kao trusts VitaminLab is that they use all-natural, bioavailable ingredients, so you metabolize them quickly, and you don’t have to worry about fillers or allergens.
Dangers of taking the wrong supplements
It may seem like taking supplements is the right thing to do for your health. But if you take them indiscriminately, you could be causing more harm than good.
For example, certain supplements — vitamin K and Saint-John’s-wort, for example — interfere with some medications. If you don’t tell your doctor about the vitamins, herbs, and minerals you’re taking, they can cancel out the effect of your prescription or cause additional symptoms.
Also, taking supplements you don’t need can create a surplus of certain nutrients, leading to side effects such as nausea, bruising, or bleeding.
If you don’t need them, but take them anyway, some supplements can lead to serious complications. Overloading on:
- Antioxidants can lead to tumor growth
- Vitamin D can lead to hypercalcemia and kidney stones
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene can increase chances of lung cancer and birth defects
- Vitamin B12 can lead to headaches, dizziness, and anxiety
Don’t guess about which supplements your body needs, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kao for a thorough exam and lab tests so you know for sure. Call us today or book online at your convenience, and get the peace of mind knowing you’re taking the right supplements to support — not harm — your health.