Everything You Need To Know About Supplements
The nutrients our body requires daily for proper function comes from the food we eat. When our diet may be a little short on some of them we have a simple solution. Supplements allow us to increase the volume of any vitamin or mineral that doesn’t complete our diet through food.
The popularity of supplementation has lead to an industry dedicated entirely to the manufacture and distribution of these products. Dietary supplements are available in health food stores, pharmacies and grocery stores making them affordable and accessible to all.
How Supplements Can Help
When an essential nutrient is missing from our diet, a supplement can be most valuable in filling the gap. But where dietary supplementation becomes a major benefit is where it is used to prevent deficiencies as they can lead to chronic conditions developing as a result.
Supplements And Effectiveness
Health benefits and the effectiveness of taking a supplement to prevent a deficiency come under a lot of scrutiny. Although several studies have shown verifiable proof of where some vitamin or mineral intake has helped, research continues on the level of the results.
Our Bodies Naturally Require Vitamins And Minerals To Function
That being said, considering that supplements are natural and contain such nutrients as calcium, potassium, Vitamins C, D and B12, they are generally safe to take. Since our bodies require these vitamins and minerals anyway, they do not require prescriptions to purchase.
How To Tell If You Need Supplementation
Take a good look at your grocery cart as you get close to checking out. If you can identify that you are purchasing a variety of foods that represent each food group, then you are eating healthy.
Use Supplements As An Addition
Using supplements to fill in those shortfalls is the way to add them to your diet. Also examine your eating habits. If something is missing that can be assisted with a supplement, then factor it in. If there are nutrients you can’t normally consume for whatever the reason, adding supplementation will rectify that from becoming a problem.
Choosing The Right Dietary Supplement
If you are not really sure about what supplements to take and how much of each you require, a simple solution is a multivitamin. Just be sure to choose one that provides 100-percent or less than the Daily Value (DV) of minerals and vitamins contained to help fill shortfalls.
If You Eat Junk Foods, Supplements Don’t Make Up The Rest
A diet that is not nutritious, such as one that contains a lot of fast food and take out, will not benefit from supplements. Changing your eating habits will direct you best on the supplements you may require from shortfalls in a well-rounded meal plan.
Stick To The Recommended Guidelines
Do not ignore the DV percentage figures. If you add supplements to your routine, do not exceed the recommended DV as you are looking to just add the minerals and nutrients that are lacking in your diet. Also, supplementation is not a food or food replacement.
Eating A Wide And Varied Diet Is Vital To Good Health
Eat well first and foremost. Calcium, potassium and vitamin D are typically the three that most adults and children do not get enough of in their daily meal plan. Try to increase foods that contain these such as adding fruits, vegetables and meats. A supplement with calcium and vitamin D is a good add-on for safety.
Tips On What Supplements To Choose
Women in their childbearing years – from 14 to 50, should consider adding supplements of two nutrients in their diet: folic acid and iron.
For individuals over the age of 50, it is easier for them to get most of their DV of vitamin B12 through supplementation.
Folic acid supplementation should not exceed 1,000 micrograms per day.
Nerve damage may result from vitamin B12 deficiencies if more folic acid is consumed.
Men and women who are past menopause stage require little or no iron supplementation. Birth defects are possible if women have an excess of vitamin A in their bodies when they become pregnant.
What You Can’t Do With Supplements
If you are looking to supplements to be some kind of magic cure for what ails you, you are likely going to be disappointed in their performance. If you are looking at adding supplements to enhance your healthy diet, then you may see some benefit.
Read The Supplement Labels Carefully
The Food and Drug Administration in the United States heavily regulates drug medications but not dietary supplements. This means that what the label says about a particular mineral or vitamin may exceed what the contents are actually capable of doing.
Always Choose From A Known Brand
In other words, manufacturers are largely responsible for the packaging and carefully word them to provide implications that may not be entirely based in truth.
While there are many benefits to supplementation, scientific evidence is lacking on many fronts. This does not mean you should not consume dietary supplements at all.
Our Modern Soils Are Nutrient Deficient
As stated before, there are many nutrients that are missing in our diets or our bodies do not get enough of from our diets. The most logical and economical way to remedy this is with supplements.
These People Need Dietary Supplements
There are several reasons to take supplements. If your normal daily diet does not contain the 40+ nutrients your body needs to maintain good health, you can benefit from adding supplementation. If you are in one of the following categories you may also benefit from them:
- Anyone with a poor diet that is not nutrition based
- Individuals with food intolerances or food allergies
- Those with certain diseases, including cancer
- Vegans as well as some people on vegetarian diets
- Individuals taking certain medications
- Anyone on a low-calorie diet
- Eaters that limit food groups or do not consumer much variety within a food group
- Women who are pregnant or lactating
How To Learn More About Supplementation
One of the best ways to understand what you can and can’t do with dietary supplements is to do some homework. This will include online searches, visiting a library as well as discussing your needs and concerns with a qualified person in a health food store or pharmacy.
Many Health Conditions Can Be Treated With Supplements
Should you have specific conditions you are looking to treat with the addition of supplements, you may find a lot of possibilities exist. If you have never used them before, have an open mind and see whether or not you find relief with a change in diet and a supplement.
Can Your Diet And Exercise Habits Improve As Well?
Your best route to overall good health is through diet and exercise but not everyone is capable of changing food habits due to allergies. The same goes for those unable to exercise due to some physical issue. These examples are where supplementation can be of some benefit.
See Your Doctor First
As is usually the case when you do something different with your lifestyle, you should consult your family doctor before starting any kind of dietary supplement program. This is to determine if you may develop complications from a medication or pre-existing condition.
If your doctor sees no possibility of side effects based on your current health condition, then you are free to explore what adding to your diet can produce. Supplements are not for everyone but are well worth looking into in case they can improve your health and wellbeing.