Sacha Walters-Gregory, Staff Reporter
Sheryl's medicine cabinet is stocked with supplements that contribute nothing to her health. Of the seven products she owns, she takes none, and based on current trends among women she is not alone.
"Right now, I have five multivitamins - two are geared towards women - cod liver oil tablets and vitamin E tablets," said the 30-year-old who selects her supplements through a variety of methods.
"Sometimes its based on ads on TV, sometimes they're recommended by my friends, or if I'm in the health-food store and I see something that is interesting, I'll buy it," said Sheryl.
But what leads her to abandon the pills before finishing the bottle?
"I can't keep up with it, I just usually take it when I remember and eventually I just go back to feeling the same way," she said, explaining that she returns to the same listless feeling which led her to go in search of the over-the-counter supplements in the first place.
Sheryl admitted she has never consulted her doctor about what is a good over-the-counter supplement for her needs, but she is cognisant that her eating habits often do not result in her consuming a balanced meal; this is where the supplements are supposed to fill in.
"There are many schools of thought where it comes on to supplements," said Dr James E. Peart, general practitioner at Peart Medical Centre in Portmore. He explained that some health professionals feel that a balanced diet takes care of all the body's needs, while others believe that supplements play an important role.
He noted that while the body cannot absorb all the nutrients from the pills and most of it comes out as waste from the body, most top-end multivitamins are relatively satisfactory in providing the stipulated nutrients.
Other supplements such as Omega-3, which he said is a distillate of cod liver oil, is good for removing unhealthy cholesterol.
Aside from it emptying your wallet, it can also have a negative effect on your health if you mix the wrong vitamins.
"Persons, however, should be careful when taking vitamins, E, D and A as they are duplicated in cod liver oil because that can lead to vitaminosis," he said. This is where the body receives too much of one vitamin that can lead to side-effects.
"So it's moderation in all things," he said. "And, of course, having a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates."
Names changed upon request