Dietary supplements are used to add nutrients to diets or lower the risk of various health problems. They come in different forms such as pills, capsules, powders, gel capsules and tablets, extracts, or liquids. They may contain minerals, fiber, amino acids, minerals, herbs, or enzymes, and only a certain amount is needed.
Furthermore, dietary supplements can be beneficial to everyone, either the very young or the old, but they can also have unwanted side effects. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act defines dietary supplements as products intended to supplement diet, contain one or more ingredients ( like nutrients, vitamins, herbs, amino acids, or their constituents), and are designed to be taken orally. However, you must know that dietary supplements should not in any way replace foods. This is because they can’t replicate all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods.
Who needs dietary supplements?
It is important to know that dietary supplements are not a substitute for a balanced healthy diet. They are products designed to supplement your diet. A balanced diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, adequate protein, and healthy fats will generally provide all the nutrients needed for good health. However, some people may still require supplements because the minerals or vitamins they need are hard to get from diet. These people include;
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
- Senior citizens
- People age 50 or above
- People with medical conditions (diabetes, chronic diarrhea, food allergies, and others) that affect how their body digest minerals and/or vitamins
- Strict vegetarians
You may not need supplements if you’re healthy and get all the necessary nutrients for good health from foods.
A healthier gut helps build a longer life, and probiotic supplements can help you achieve that. Probiotics are living microorganisms( including viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths ) that provide many health benefits when ingested. These bacteria (healthy bacteria) contained in probiotics help counter the ‘bad’ bacteria causing diseases. When probiotics are consumed in adequate proportions, they boost your health and the body’s immune system.
In addition, the benefits of probiotics are beyond breaking down food and helping ease digestion. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and joint pains. Probiotics can also be obtained from fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and cultured vegetables.
Vitamin D is called ‘sunshine vitamin,’ and the sun serves as a source of vitamin D. Adequate amount of vitamin D is crucial for bone health. Even with that, most people don’t get enough of this essential vitamin(and it can affect their longevity). In addition, you may not get enough Vitamin D needed from diet alone and may require supplements. Furthermore, low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of inflammation, diabetes, heart-related diseases, dementia, etc. You can also get the required Vitamin D from foods including fortified milk and cereals.
Commonly known as multis, multiples, or simply vitamins. They are the world’s most popular and commonly used dietary supplements. They contain varieties of vitamins and minerals, sometimes alongside other ingredients. Taking high-quality multivitamins daily is nutritional, and they help cover dietary shortfalls. In addition, they are available in different forms, including liquids, capsules, tablets, chewable gummies, etc.
Calcium is important and works with vitamin D for bone health. Food is generally the best way to get calcium, but supplements may be an option if your diet falls short of the required calcium needed by the body. In addition, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends “three servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy each day to help bridge this gap.” Calcium helps your body build strong bones, send nerve signals, and contract muscles. Calcium is generally found in milk and milk products, fish, and dark-green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and cabbage.
They’re also known as fish oil and are very important to your health. Omega 3 may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and may help slow the progression of eye diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids occur in several different forms (natural or processed) but commonly as triglycerides. Eating whole foods, especially fatty fish, is generally the best way to get an adequate amount of omega 3 fatty acids. However, if you don’t eat lots of fatty fish, you may consider taking a supplement.