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Dietary Supplements: Do They Help or Hurt?

In the world of health and fitness, some stances are very clear- like getting enough protein, eating enough healthy fats, maintaining a balance of raw and cooked foods, consuming egg whites, having enough vegetables and plant-based foods, etc. These are areas where most people in the sphere of health and fitness might have similar opinions. But then some topics might divide the entire community because they have been sensationalized and two different sides have emerged on those issues.

One such area is the question of supplements, portions containing nutrients that are consumed by people who are deficient or likely to be deficient in the same nutrients. While on one side of the spectrum, people love supplements and swear by them, on the other side many questions the reliability of these supplements or feel uncomfortable taking supplements. This has become such an issue that a myth around the effectiveness of supplements has risen. It’s time to debunk the myth and uncover the truth once and for all.

Should We Take Supplements or Not?

  • Supplements for your diet might be useful to your health, but they can also offer potential health risks. However, whether or not to take a supplement depends on the individual. What works for someone else may not work for you. However, all of the supplements have been tested and certified, so you do not need to be concerned.

  • Before dietary supplement products are advertised, the FDA does not have the authority to examine them for safety and efficacy. You may have heard of them, used them, or even recommended them to friends or relatives. Some nutritional supplements are well-known and well-researched, while others require further research.

  • Continue reading to learn more about dietary supplements for you and your family. Consult your healthcare provider before deciding whether or not to use a supplement. They can assist you in achieving a balance of foods and nutrients that you require.

What Are Dietary Supplements?

  • Vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes are among the components included in dietary supplements. Tablets, capsules, soft gels, gelcaps, powders, and liquids are all examples of dietary supplements.

Reasons to Take Supplements - Benefits of Dietary Supplements

  • Some supplements can help you receive enough of the essential nutrients your body needs to operate, while others can help you avoid sickness.

  • Supplements, on the other hand, should not be used to substitute entire meals, which are essential for a healthy diet – so make sure you eat a variety of foods as well.

  • Supplements, unlike medicines, cannot be sold for the aim of treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing disease. This implies that supplements should not make health claims like "lowers high cholesterol" or "treats heart disease." These kinds of claims can't be made for dietary supplements.

Reasons Not To Take Supplements - Side Effects of Supplements

  • Yes. Many supplements include active substances with potent biological effects. This might put them in danger in some scenarios, as well as harm or complicate your health.

  • The following behaviors, for example, might have severe – even life-threatening – effects. The majority of supplements are safe to use, but there are a few that aren't. Consider the following scenario:-

  1. For smokers, high doses of beta carotene have been related to an increased risk of lung cancer.

  2. Kidney stones can be exacerbated by too much calcium and vitamin D.

  3. High doses of vitamin E can trigger a stroke due to brain bleeding.

  4. Blood thinners' anti-clotting actions may be hampered by vitamin K.

  • Nerve damage has been related to taking huge doses of vitamin B6 for a year or longer, making it difficult to move around (the symptoms often go away after the supplements are stopped).

Some Common Dietary Supplements

  1. Calcium

  2. Echinacea

  3. Fish Oil

  4. Ginseng

  5. Glucosamine and/or

  6. Chondroitin Sulphate

  7. Garlic

  8. Vitamin D

  9. St. John’s Wort

  10. Saw Palmetto

  11. Ginkgo

  12. Green Tea

How Can I Be A Smart Supplement Shopper?

  • Instead of relying on information from vendors while searching for supplements on the internet, visit noncommercial sources (e.g. NIH, FDA, USDA).

  • If something seems too good to be true, it generally is. The product promises like "works well then [a prescription medicine]," "completely safe," or "has no side effects" should be ignored.

  • Keep in mind that the phrase "natural" does not always imply "safe." Consult your doctor to see if the supplement you're considering is safe and effective for you. Always keep in mind that safety comes first!

Is It Safe To Take Supplements Every Day?

  • There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and anything in excess — vitamins, supplements, or food — can create significant health issues. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they are stored in the liver and are not required on a daily basis, while others are water-soluble and must be supplemented.

  • If you are wondering “why can't supplements replace food?” So, sure, you can get all of your nutrients from the food itself. Supplements aren't meant to take the place of meals. They can't match the nutrition and health advantages of entire meals like fruits and vegetables.

  • Supplements were developed for those who are unable to absorb or synthesize minerals and vitamins in their bodies. If you are a healthy individual who can eat a balanced meal, go for it.

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