Dietary supplements turn to be rather confusing substances if you possess the necessary information about them. The store shelves are full of powders and pills claiming the healthiest and leanest body if you buy this magic in the bottle. However, before buying the item and starting the course aimed at better health, improved endurance, muscular build, physique and other aspects of health, you need to realize the purpose of these supplements and whether you need them.
Supplements or Whole Foods: Making the Decision
Generally, the supplement means that it is an addition to something, not replacement of nutrients gained from keeping to a healthy diet. Moreover, if a patient eats healthy foods on a regular basis without skipping meals, caloric restriction for weight reduction or other issues, the necessary daily allowance of minerals and vitamins can be obtained from what he/she consumes. It is obvious that primary nutritional needs should be met through the diet. Instead, some people use mineral and vitamin supplements as an insurance, when they feel that their nutritional intake is not healthy. Frequently, the supplements are utilized in cases when they are not even necessary. Consuming a diversity of whole foods from good carbohydrates, healthy fats to lean proteins, provides the top assurance of receiving all the needed health benefits and nutrients.
Facts about Supplementation
The most common supplements contain minerals, herbals and vitamins and are widely available without prescription. Dietary supplements are generally defined by the FDA as foods, not drugs, thus, they are unable even to claim that they can cure, treat or prevent certain disorders. Additionally, supplements can trigger side effects, especially if used prior to surgical procedures, as well as in a combination with other pharmaceuticals. Many herbs and supplements have not been studied for adverse reactions, so it is inevitable to discuss their implementation with a qualified physician to ensure correct healthcare management.
Generally, little research and investigation has been performed to receive accurate information about safety, effectiveness and negative influence of such supplements. Since they are regulated as foods, they cannot be accounted for the effects or quality of the body. The most important issue before beginning of any supplement intake is information about whether it is safe, effective and necessary for you.
Who Requires Supplements?
People, who are healthy due to the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins do not need extra supplements. However, there are specific instances, when supplements may be beneficial. They include:
• Pregnancy. Women trying to get pregnant should consume 400 mcg of folic acid a day, apart from eating products rich in folate. Besides, pregnant women are recommended to use iron-containing vitamin supplements.
• Adults over 60 years old. Due to the fact that B12 deficiency is more peculiar to older people, healthcare specialists usually advise B12 supplements for their patients over 60 years old.
• Adults over 65. 800IU of Vitamin D is recommended for elderly patients to decrease fall risk.
• Nutritional deficiency. Supplements can also be beneficial for patients, who restrict calories and do not eat a healthy diet. Fish oil can be prescribed to people, who do not get enough fatty fish a week.
• Women with heavy menstruation can develop iron deficiency, so they may require iron supplements.
• Medical conditions that interfere with an ability to absorb nutrients, as well as surgical procedures on the intestinal tract, which prevent the organism from proper nutrient consumption. Having chronic medical conditions, you should discuss the supplement use with your doctor.
Make an Educated Choice
The positive thing about dietary supplements is that they are not an obligation for proper health. A variety of healthy foods can satisfy your daily need of nutrients, so that you do not require supplementation. Taking certain supplements is an individual decision, though it should be an educated one. Keep in mind false claims and promises from unregulated products, which fall under the food category. Before you select any supplement, discuss its intake with your healthcare provider, undergo a small examination and conduct your own research to learn all the possible pros and cons of an unknown supplement.