Are Dietary Supplements Good for You?
Due to illness or inappropriate food intake, weakness drives us all to the doctor’s desk at least once in a lifetime. Doesn’t it?
Well, if you haven’t experienced this yet, we hope you don’t encounter this in the times to come. But those who have might be familiar with dietary supplements.
Perhaps, they may be familiar with the one or two-month-long dosage to strengthen their body internally and boost their physical performance. But is there more to the capsules than only that?
Are those dietary supplements even good for your health or not? Let’s unravel each aspect of it in detail today!
What is Dietary Supplementation?
To understand whether dietary supplementation is good for our health or not, we must first understand what it truly is. Unless we have a sound understanding of it, we will continue to have no option but trust the doctor’s prescription blindly.
If we consider the literal meaning, then dietary supplementation refers to any capsule, tablet, pill, chewable, or syrups that contain a dietary element. It could possibly be any amino acid, vitamins, minerals, etc. One can even consume it in the form of a nutritional bar. Note that any form of dietary supplements must only be ingested via the mouth into the body. Otherwise, it may not classify as a dietary supplement. Nutritional supplements that one takes in the form of nasal sprays, creams, lotions, etcetera are not dietary supplements but drugs.
Also, dietary supplements are not supposed to substitute meals. Proper food intake, such as liquids, fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. remains necessary. The supplementation can only boost nutrient intake.
Types of Dietary Supplements
We know that dietary supplements provide us with nutrients. But what are these nutrients? Where do they come from?
To answer such queries, let us inform you that they come from a variety of sources according to which they get further classified. Let’s have a look at these:
- Synthetic: Dietary supplements of the synthetic sort are the ones that get prepared completely artificially. They are capable of delivering the benefit of the nutrients but do not get obtained from natural resources.
- Partially Synthetic: These supplements contain nutrients that originally get extracted from plants, inorganic material, animal tissues, etc. But later on, it is chemically changed to meet certain requirements or to enhance its effectiveness.
- Natural: These supplements contain actual nutrients extracted from plants and animals and animal tissues. At times, they may also get extracted from inorganic materials, such as rocks and seawater.
Nutrients in Dietary Supplements
As mentioned above, dietary supplements can provide the human body with literally any kind of nutrient. Be it, macro-nutrients, or micro, these supplements can help in covering the loss for all.
However, the below-mentioned are some of the most commonly consumed nutrients via supplementation:
- Amino Acids
- CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
- Fatty Acids
- Herbal Extracts
Additionally, dietary supplements could get further divided into two types:
- One that provides one particular nutrient
- One that provides a mix of several nutrients (e.g., multivitamins)
Pros of Dietary Supplements
We haven’t yet considered a very vital question; why do people consume the dietary supplements? What are the benefits of dietary supplements?
Let’s have a look. The dietary supplements benefit the human body by:
- Nourishing health and combating nutritional deficiencies.
- Strengthening the immune system.
Yes, that’s about it! But don’t fall for the count of the pros. The impact of these very two pros is indeed quite huge.
For example, good doses of vitamins E and C (antioxidants) can lower the toxic effect of drugs involved in chemotherapy. Similarly, doses of other nutrients can help prevent some serious medical conditions like hypertension, anemia, etc.
Cons of Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements do not have any cons, not until you consume them according to the prescription. However, if you consume heavy doses, then that might cause you some trouble.
For example, prolonged and heavy intake of Vitamin B6 can cause irreparable nerve damage. Along the same lines, a sudden intake of heavy amounts of Vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
Also, if a person is taking different sets of medications simultaneously, it can cause an inappropriate drug interaction. Thus, leading to the development of new issues. Let’s say you’re taking medicines for treating your acne. But then, you also start taking Vitamin A tablets. Now such a situation will increase Vitamin A toxicity in your body due to the chemical reactions occurring between the two.
So, is it good or bad?
Neither! Or, you can say, both! Yes, that’s correct!
Whether dietary supplementation is good for you or bad, it all depends on consuming them. If you consume them as prescribed (given that you had been honest with your doctor about not taking any other medications currently), then it’s all good!