Researchers say that most people’s diets lack a number of vital nutrients, including vitamins A, C and D, magnesium, potassium and calcium. This makes it essential for you to use supplements in order to get the nutrition you need. It should be noted, however, that taking supplements shouldn’t be just to make up for what a person is missing, but also to give the body some additional health boost.
Types of Supplements
There are various types of nutritional or dietary supplements. Mineral and vitamin supplements are types of nutritional supplements that contain micronutrients intended to enhance body functioning and enhance mental health. Botanical or herbal supplements are nutritional supplements that are meant for medical purposes. These types of dietary supplements basically support a particular area of the body’s health, i.e. skin, bones, or liver, etc.
There are different types of dietary, or nutritional, supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements are types of dietary supplements containing micronutrients meant to help a body function smoothly and improve mental health. Herbal (or botanical) supplements are dietary supplements that have a medicinal purpose. Herbal supplements generally support a particular area of the body’s health, such as the bones, skin or liver.
Are Supplements Effective?
Supplements are available in various forms, including tablet, capsule, pill or liquid form. They contain one or several dietary ingredient(s) such as minerals, vitamins, herbs, amino acids, etc. While it sounds pretty easy getting essential nutrients from a single pill, it’s not always like that. Truth be told - not all supplements are effective in delivering the promise of improved health. Some supplements can even put your life at risk, especially when taken in larger-than-recommended doses or amounts.
Information about nutritional supplements is normally unclear or confusing, making it hard for dieters to differentiate those that offer real health benefits from those that merely give false promises. It is, therefore, crucial for you to learn all you can about supplements so you can make ideal choices about the ones that are right for you.
Who Needs Mineral and Vitamin Supplements?
Generally, adults and children can benefit greatly from taking supplements. Nutritionists recommend a daily dose of one multivitamin, as it helps to offer a consistent source of the vital micronutrients and vitamins. There are also some groups of people that may need supplements more due to their distinct nutritional needs. They include:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Women of childbearing age
- Teenagers and children with unbalanced eating habits
- The aged
- Vegans or vegetarians
- Strict dieters or individuals avoiding particular types of food
- Individuals with medical conditions or eating disorders
- Individuals who regularly eat fast and processed food
It should be noted that the foremost consideration is to consume a healthy diet. Even the best dietary supplement on the market should not be used as a substitute for good nutrition.
Nutritional Supplement Safety
There are several circumstances under which nutritional supplements may not be risk-free. It’s highly advisable that you consult your doctor or health practitioner before taking any supplement. This is especially if you are expectant, breastfeeding, or is ailing from a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, hypertension or diabetes. Other aspects you should be aware of include:
- Some supplements have various side effects, some of which may be serious. For example, there are certain toxic herbs that are linked to cancer, kidney failure and liver damage.
- There are those supplements that may interact with other supplements or medications. Some interactions could be dangerous and life threatening.
- Some supplements can cause undesirable effects during surgery. It’s highly advised that you stop taking certain supplements at least 2 weeks before undergoing surgery. Be sure to inform your doctor about all the supplements you may be taking prior to a surgery.
- Taking supplements in excess can trigger health problems. For example, green tea may be an effective antioxidant and fat burner, but consuming high-concentration green tea supplements could be toxic to your liver.
It’s crucial that you let your healthcare providers (including dieticians, pharmacists and doctors) know the specific supplements you are taking, the dose you take, how regularly you take them and the reason for taking them. This will enable the health practitioners to determine what’s best for your overall health.