Supplements: Types, Requirements And Points To Remember
10 Min Read
Do you take supplements? Are those safe for your health? Let us find out!
Micronutrient deficiencies affect more than 2 billion people or every one in three people worldwide. That is when the need for supplements arises. Therefore, nutritional supplements are included in the daily diet to bridge the gap between dietary deficiencies and intake.
Good nutrition is crucial to our health and well-being. Ideally, we can get all the nutrients we need from our diet. Still, for numerous reasons, from lack of access to healthy foods to a busy lifestyle, many people benefit from supplements to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Table Of Contents
1. What Is A Supplement?
2. What Are The Types Of Supplements?
3. Supplements Vs. Whole Foods
4. Points To Remember
5. Are Supplements Required?
6. Dietitian’s Recommendation
7. The Final Say
What Is A Supplement?
The supplement comes from the Latin noun supplementum, which means refilling or completing. In the vicinity of nutrition, dietary supplements enhance or meet nutritional gaps.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, “Any product you take to supplement your food regimen is considered dietary supplements.” These include vitamins, minerals, fish oils, herbal dietary supplements and many more.
What Are The Types Of Supplements?
Supplements should be consumed as a source of nutrients to cope with a known gap or, more often, to set up a steady consumption of a positive set of nutrients. However, many people additionally take dietary supplements for specific health or purposeful benefits.
These products are available in many forms, such as capsules, powders, chewable beverages, and other alternative formats to fit client interests and preferences.
Here is a quick review of the famous dietary supplements:
1. Vitamins And Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are vital micronutrients our body needs to thrive. In addition, they are essential in supporting the structure and function, including the eye, heart, skin, bone and muscle health.
Although you get most of your micronutrients from a balanced diet, taking multivitamins and multimineral supplements offers an easy way to meet your daily needs.
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 individuals may focus on specific aspects of their health and well-being based on their life stage or personal wellness goals.
Therefore, specialised or targeted supplements for different categories, including heart, brain, digestion, immunity, sleep, etc. These supplements are used in daily routines for a specific purpose. Therefore, they support the needs at different stages of life.
3. Polynutrients Or Herbal Supplements
These supplements are made from plants and plant extracts. They have been used for various functions and health benefits for centuries. Some of these herbal supplements are rich in poly nutrients (compounds found in plant-based foods), including vegetables, fruits, teas, beans and species of many others, which give these foods their distinctive colour and flavours.
Aloe vera juice is an excellent example of a supplement that supports digestive health and nutrient absorption.
4. Sports Nutrition
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 has increased rapidly.
5. Weight Management
Achieving a healthy weight is essential for good health and well-being. Obesity is associated with health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Supplements Vs. Whole Foods
Supplements can not replace food! Read it again. They can not! They can not replicate all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
The three main benefits of whole foods are:
1. Better Nutrition
Whole foods are complex and contain a variety of micronutrients that your body needs.
2. Essential Fibre
Whole foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes provide fibre. Moreover, they may help to 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 that slow down a process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
Points To Remember
If you are planning to take supplements, here are some points you must remember:
1. Check The Product Label
Product labels tell a lot about the product. For example, it will inform you about the active elements, nutrients, serving size and the quality of nutrients per serving.
2. Avoid Extra Doses
Taking more than the recommended daily value can increase the risk of side effects.
3. Watch What You Eat
Vitamins and minerals are introduced to a growing number of foods, which include breakfast cereals and beverages. However, if you are additionally taking supplements, you will get more than the needed nutrients that can pose severe side effects.
4. Talk To Your Physician
Before consuming any dietary supplement, talk to your dietitian or physician. Moreover, if you think some supplements have prompted any illness, stop taking them and consult a doctor.
Are Supplements Required?
Our body indeed needs different amounts of nutrients at various stages of life. However, if you are a healthy person who eats a properly balanced diet and consists of a variety of foods in your diet, you may not need supplements.
Specialists advise the supplements under the circumstances. However, common cases are:
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- Are 50 years or older
- Have a hassle getting nutritious ingredients.
- Have a surgical operation on your digestive tract that influences how your frame digests vitamins.
- Have medical conditions that influence your frame digests vitamins, including persistent diarrhoea, meals, allergies, or sickness of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
As a practising dietitian, it is my personal view of nutrients and dietary supplements. However, I would emphasise that you should take a well-balanced diet that consists of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses etc., as it is enough to fulfil the daily dietary requirements.
Experts in this field also say that most individuals do not need to take dietary supplements and may get all the nutrients and minerals they want through a healthy, balanced eating regimen. Still, many people choose to take dietary supplements; however, taking an excessive amount or taking them for too long can be harmful. So, if you are about to include a supplement in your diet, you must seek advice from an expert.
-Dietitian Lavina Chauhan
The Final Say
Supplements are intended to support, not replace, a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle. Experts agree that taking dietary supplements, particularly multivitamins, does not harm taking daily. However, if you also consume natural food sources and fortified food and drink any nutrient, 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. Do not consider supplements a one-and-done deal, but think of them as a part of your life-long wellness plan and everyday routine. Be it exercising, cooking healthy meals, or incorporating more vitamins and dietary supplements into your routine, make an effort to invest in your overall health.
1. Are dietary supplements drugs?
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates dietary supplements as food, not as drugs.
2. Is taking dietary supplements safe?
Dietary supplements are not safe, and taking them can pose severe risks, especially for people getting cancer treatment.
3. Can dietary supplements cause kidney damage?
Over-the-counter medicines, common prescriptions and nutritional supplements can severely affect kidney function. You are at high risk if your kidneys are not healthy. However, there are reports of certain supplements causing kidney problems.
4. Can dietary supplements cause heart palpitations?
Some dietary supplements can cause heart palpitations. Also, research has shown no clear benefit to supplements; consuming too many vitamins can be harmful.
Some research shows that 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 stimulate digestion and improve absorption. However, for a few, it does not matter if you take them on an empty stomach.
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