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Health

What You Need to Know About Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Turmeric, and Fish Oil

From vitamin B to fish oil, here’s what you need to know about these popular nutritional supplements and why they can be beneficial.

By Avery HurtJan 3, 2024 8:00 AM
multiple fruits with supplements
(Credit: Lallapie/Shutterstock)

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Taking supplements has been a popular health trend for the last few years. Drug store shelves are filled with dozens of different options that come in a variety of gummy or pill forms.

Though many claim that supplements are key for our health, there’s a lot you need to know before you start adding supplements to your diet. Here is what you need to know on some of the most popular supplements.   

Vitamin C

(Credit: Gargonia/Shutterstock)

Vitamin C, formally known as L-ascorbic acid, is essential for many of the body’s processes. Vitamin C is involved in protein metabolism, the production of collagen, and the synthesis of some neurotransmitters. And that’s just the highlights. 

What Are the Benefits of Vitamin C?

There’s research suggesting that, because of C’s antioxidant properties, the vitamin may play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It's also a hero in fighting off infections, reducing allergy severity, and supporting the immune system.

What Are Good Sources of Vitamin C?

Your body doesn’t make vitamin C; it has to come from food. Key sources include rose hips, currants, and strawberries, along with kiwi, parsley, and a citrus medley of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. Exotic fruits like papaya, pineapple, mango, and quince also make the list, as do several cruciferous and root vegetables such as different types of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, turnips, and potatoes.

Can You Take Too Much Vitamin C?

Supplements usually contain C in the form of ascorbic acid, which has bioavailability equivalent to that of the ascorbic acid you get from foods. Vitamin C is water-soluble. That means whatever your body doesn’t use, you just pee out. It doesn’t accumulate in your tissues.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take too much. Too much unabsorbed vitamin C in the gastrointestinal tract, especially if you consume more than 2,000 milligrams (mg) at once, can cause diarrhea, nausea, and cramps. 


Read More: Do Multivitamins Work and How Do You Know If You Need One?


Vitamin B

(Credit: LumenSt/Shutterstock)

B vitamins are vital nutrients that our bodies need daily. They help convert our food into energy, make important molecules in our cells, and keep our brains working properly by supporting the nerves and making neurotransmitters.

What Are the Different Types of Vitamin B?

There is a whole family of B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B12, and folic acid. As you can imagine, with a roster this big, the Bs play a variety of roles in the body. If we don't get enough B vitamins, we can face serious health problems, including issues with our nervous system and brain health.

What Foods Have Vitamin B?

Fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products are good sources of B vitamins. While leafy greens and legumes contain some B vitamins, they lack B12, making supplementation or fortified products often necessary for those who follow a vegan diet.

Can You Take Too Much Vitamin B?

Like vitamin C, B-complex vitamins are water-soluble, so it’s hard to overdose on them. However, at high doses, some B vitamins can cause trouble. High doses of B6 can cause tingling or loss of feeling in the arms or legs. In one study, vitamins B6, folate, and B12 were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in men who smoked. Over a long period of time, high doses of B3 can cause liver damage. 


Read More: They May Taste Good but are Gummy Vitamins Effective?


 Turmeric

(Credit: Photoongraphy/Shutterstock)

Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family, and its root is widely used as a seasoning in food, particularly in South Asian dishes. However, turmeric is also a part of traditional medicine in India and China. 

What Is Turmeric Good For?

Today, turmeric is often used as a dietary supplement to treat arthritis, digestive disorders, respiratory infections, liver disease, depression, and many more conditions. Some research indicates that turmeric might prove useful in developing treatments for dementia. However, the potential benefits and mechanisms of turmeric are still being researched.

Can You Take Too Much Turmeric?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH) says turmeric is probably safe when taken orally or applied to the skin, as long as you stay within recommended amounts. However, the agency warns that turmeric supplements may be unsafe during pregnancy, and little is known about whether it is safe to breastfeed while taking higher amounts of turmeric than are commonly found in food.


Read More: Turmeric for Joint Pain and Inflammation: Does It Really Work?


Fish Oil

(Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

Fish oil is another popular supplement. The benefit is generally thought to derive from the generous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Certain fish — mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring — are particularly high in these compounds. You can also buy fish oil supplements that contain omega-3s.

What Is Fish Oil Good For?

Fish oil has an anti-inflammatory effect, making it potentially useful for diseases that involve inflammation, such as heart disease and inflammatory arthritis. Fish oil has also been shown to reduce blood pressure and triglyceride levels. 

Does Fish Oil Have Any Side Effects?

Side effects are minimal but can include a fishy taste or fishy breath, nausea, heartburn, or diarrhea. Large doses could potentially cause bleeding from gastrointestinal upset and heavy metal poisoning

Be sure to talk with your healthcare team before taking any supplements. It’s important to get the dose right and to avoid potential interactions with any other supplements or prescription medicines you may be taking.


Read More: What You Need to Know About Vitamin D and Supplements


This article is not offering medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only.


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Our writers at Discovermagazine.com use peer-reviewed studies and high-quality sources for our articles, and our editors review for scientific accuracy and editorial standards. Review the sources used below for this article:

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