You’ve probably heard about dietary supplements, perhaps used them too, and you may have even recommended supplements to your family or friends. But, how much, in real, do you know about these supplements and their effects on our health?
Yes, we take these supplements with the hope of reaping certain benefits. However, taking supplements could involve some potential health risks too.
Fact reveals that most physicians have been trained to reject all supplements, expect the ones given only for mainstream medical complications like nutritional deficiency, for supporting the bodily needs during pregnancy, or provide necessary calcium to females for preventing osteoporosis. Before endorsing or recommending any supplement, physicians are directed to evaluate whether supplements are backed with solid research or not, to prove two things – their effectiveness and safety.
What are Dietary Supplements?
Supplements, in general, include vitamins and minerals with other less familiar nutrients. Herbal and botanical supplements are also widely available these days. Enzymes and amino acids are also packed in pills. Dietary supplements are marketed in different forms like capsules, tablets, gelcaps, and softgels. Whilst some of these supplements are well understood, others require further research.
Supplements aren’t intended for treatment or to cure any medical condition or disease, unless they’ve been approved by the FDA.
Benefits of Supplements
Supplements are designed to provide adequate nutrition. However, supplements cannot be a replacement for foods, as foods remain the most crucial source of nutrients and energy for the food.
However, not all supplements are designed for everyone. It is very important to understand which supplement is good for you depending on your health and medical condition.
Vitamins and Minerals in Dietary Supplements
Micronutrients are the group of vitamins and minerals, which nourish the body and keep you healthy. Most of these micronutrients can be derived by eating different types of foods. Getting these micronutrients through foods ensure good health.
The term vitamin is derived from a Latin word, and it means”chemical necessary for life.” Minerals and vitamins are nutrients present in the environment, which benefit our cells. Our bodies make most of the vitamins, but in small amounts, but the minerals cannot be manufactured in the body. Every mineral has to be sourced from foods and supplements.
Because micronutrients are essential for the body, it is necessary to consume the same on a regular basis. If you do not consume various healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, fish and lean meats, you will not get the required amount of micronutrients. As a result, supplement may be helpful.
Biggest Problem with Supplements
Quality control has become a cause of concern with most nutritional supplements. Although there are different measures being taken by states, yet the result is not very impressive. Germany, for instance, requires that all herbal remedies in their state should be registered with their government and standardized. There are state-appointed agencies that look into these matters.
Another concern is an accidental overdose of some supplements. If you take supplements along with fortified foods, supplement drinks, or bars, it could be toxic for your system.
Nutritional supplements, which have successfully passed quality control and scientific scrutiny, are safer to consume.