Do You Need Supplements Or Not?



Published on: 21-Sep-2022


10 min read


Updated on : 02-Nov-2023



Do You Need Supplements Or Not?

Do You Need Supplements Or Not?

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We would receive all of our nutrients from our diet, but we might fail. Many people can benefit from supplements to meet their daily nutritional needs. Do you need to consume any?

Micronutrient deficiencies affect over 2 billion people worldwide. More than 70% of people over three do not eat the recommended fruits and vegetables. Good nutrition is crucial to our health and well-being. Nutritional supplements are included in the daily diet to close the gap between dietary requirements and intake.

Table Of Contents 

1. What is a supplement?

2. Kinds Of Dietary Supplements

3. Supplement Vs. Whole Foods

4. Things To Consider While Taking Supplement

5. Do You Need Supplements Or Not? 

6. Dietitian’s Recommendations

7. The Final Say

8. FAQs

What Is A Supplement?

The Latin word "supplere" means to add, refill, or complete. In the vicinity of nutrition, dietary supplements enhance or meet nutrient gaps. The United States Food and Drug Administration says that any products you take to supplement your food regimen are considered dietary supplements.

Kinds Of Dietary Supplements 

Besides their nutritional benefits, many people also take dietary supplements for specific health or purposeful benefits. They are available in the form of capsules, powders, chewable beverages, and others to fit people’s interests and preferences. Here is a quick review of some of the most famous dietary supplements:

1. Vitamins And Minerals

They are essential in supporting the structure and function of the entire body, including eye, heart, skin, bone, and muscle health. Multivitamins are like “nutrition insurance” that helps ensure you can quickly meet your daily micronutrient needs alongside a healthy diet.

2. Targeted Supplements

Nutrition is complex and individual, and consumers may focus on specific aspects of their health and well-being based on their life stage or personal wellness goals. 

Therefore, there are specialised or targeted supplements for different categories, including heart, brain, digestive, immunity, sleep, etc.

3. Phytonutrients Or Herbal Supplements

These supplements are made from plants or plant extracts. They have been used for various functional or health benefits for centuries. Some of these herbal supplements are rich in phytonutrients (a compound found in plant-based foods), including fruits, vegetables, beans, herbal tea, and spices: like ginseng, turmeric, garlic, poppy, ginkgo Biloba, blueberry, ginger, and saw palmetto. 

The pure juice of aloe vera is an outstanding example of a phytonutrient supplement used to help healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. 

4. Sports Nutrition

Many professional athletes, gymnasts, and bodybuilders use sports nutrition supplements to optimise their performance before, during, and after training.

They provide various benefits, from hydration and exercise enhancement to post-workout recovery. Athletes of all skill levels need protein to repair and build muscle, hence the popularity of protein shakes and supplements.

5. Weight Management

Achieving a healthy weight is essential to our health and well-being. Obesity is associated with conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These conditions can occur for other reasons, and treating obesity does not necessarily reduce or eliminate the health risk. This is one of the reasons weight control products are so popular.

You Can Also Read: Supplements: Types, Requirements And Points To Remember

Supplements Vs. Whole Foods

Dietary supplements are not meant to be a substitute for diet. You cannot replicate all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Whole foods offer three main advantages over supplements:

1. Better nutrition

Whole foods are complex and contain a variety of micronutrients that your body needs.

2. Essential Fibre 

Fibre is found in whole foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fibre may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

3. Protective Substances

Many whole foods contain health-promoting chemicals like antioxidants. These substances slow down a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.

Things To Consider While Taking Supplements

If you are deciding to take a supplement, it is essential to keep these pointers in mind:

1. Check The Label

Product labels can inform you about the active element, which nutrients are included, the serving size, and the number of nutrients in every serving.

2. Avoid Extra Doses

Taking more than the daily recommendations can boom your risk of side effects.

3. Watch What You Eat

Vitamins and minerals are being introduced to a growing number of foods, which include breakfast cereals and beverages. If you are additionally taking dietary supplements, you will be getting more than you realise, which may increase the chances of side effects.

4. Tell Your Physician

Supplements can have negative consequences when used in specific combinations, with specific prescribed medications, or before surgery or other procedures. Consulting a physician is always a good choice.

5. Watch For Signals And Recalls 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not modify dietary supplements to the same degree as prescribed drugs. But the FDA does screen their safety. Hence, you should check the FDA website for warnings and recalls periodically.

6. Report Problems

If you think a nutritional supplement may have prompted you to have an illness, stop taking it and speak with your physician. Your physician may also recommend you go online and submit a safety report to the FDA.

Do You Need Supplements Or Not?

Specialists generally advise dietary supplements only under certain circumstances if a person is unable to satisfy the accelerated dietary necessities due to clinical situations or the person cannot take the daily required amount. However, to elaborate on the same, we will say that dietary supplements or fortified foods can be suitable in the following case:

  • You are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.
  • You are aged 50 or older.
  • You have a bad urge for food or have a hassle getting nutritious ingredients.
  • You follow a food regimen that excludes complete meal groups.
  • You have a condition that influences how your frame digests vitamins, which include persistent diarrhoea, food allergies, intolerance or a sickness of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
  • You have undergone a digestive tract surgery that influences your frame and digests vitamins.

Dietitian’s Recommendations

As a practicing dietitian, I suggest you take a well-balanced diet consisting of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, etc., as it is enough to fulfill your daily dietary requirements. Due to this, numerous professionals in this sector also say that most individuals do not need to take dietary supplements and may get all of the nutrients and minerals they want by consuming a healthy, balanced diet. Despite this, many people choose to take dietary supplements. However, taking excessive or excessive amounts for too long can be harmful. So if you are about to include a supplement in your diet, you must seek advice from your doctor or dietitian first.

The Final Say

Supplements are intended to support and not replace a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle. Experts concur that dietary supplements do not harm daily, particularly multivitamins. But suppose you also consume natural food sources, fortified food, and drink any nutrient. In that case, you may go over the tolerable higher level for a few nutrients. 

That can raise your probability of side effects. Dietary supplements can be regulated like medicines; this is why constantly keep your physician and dietitian aware of the supplements you are taking on your own. Think of them as a part of your life-long wellness plan and everyday routine. Whether it be by exercise, preparing better meals, or including extra vitamins and dietary supplements in your daily regimen, make an effort to invest in your overall health. Consistency is vital when one commits to a healthy lifestyle.


1. Are dietary supplements drugs?

The FDA regulates dietary supplements as foods, not as medications. However, the term "drug" is often used to describe dietary supplements, depending on the type.

2. Is taking dietary supplements safe?

Taking dietary supplements is safe as long as they are not taken too much. But dietary supplements are not safe, and taking them can have risks for people getting cancer treatment.

3. Can dietary supplements cause kidney damage?

The function of the kidneys can be negatively impacted by over-the-counter medications, common prescription drugs and dietary supplements. If your kidneys are not healthy, your risk increases. However, there are reports of certain supplements causing kidney problems.

4. Can dietary supplements cause heart palpitations?

Dietary supplements like bitter orange, ginseng, and ephedra, as well as others, can get your heart racing. However, consuming too much of specific vitamins can be harmful. For example, too much calcium and vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

5. When should dietary supplements be taken?

Most supplements should be taken with food to promote digestion, enhance absorption and lower the likelihood of an upset stomach. So it does not matter if you take some of them on an empty stomach for a chosen few.


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