Whether they are spilling out of your drawer or take up all your bathroom countertop space- if you take dietary supplements, you’re not alone.
In fact, millions of people in the US rely on them for a variety of reasons. You might be trying to lower the risk of a certain disease, combat nutritional deficiency, or perhaps you want to be more proactive with regard to wellness. Meanwhile, some just want to retain their youthful vitality and energy levels.
Regardless of the reason, dietary supplements promise plenty of health benefits. Usually, these include minerals, herbs, and vitamins, and come in the form of capsules or pills.
Thanks to many wellness brands, now you can have your dietary supplement in drinks, foods, and powders. However, you must keep in mind that dietary supplements alone don’t cure health conditions or diseases.
Dietary supplements can provide specific health benefits as they are a blend of individual minerals and vitamins. Interestingly, you can find recommendations for dietary supplements everywhere- social media, commercials, and magazines. Amidst this noise, choosing the right dietary supplements is overwhelming.
While most supplements can act as a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, evidence varies broadly. That is why it is extremely important to choose dietary supplements carefully. You need to pick supplements that are high in quality and suitable for your health.
Don’t fret if you have no idea how to go about it. We have you covered here. Here is everything you need to know about choosing dietary supplements.
Minerals, Vitamins, and Proprietary Blends- What are Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are typically products containing ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, botanicals, herbs, amino acids, antioxidants, probiotics and, other nutrients. Available in many forms, dietary supplements include gummies, powders, tinctures, and liquids. At their core, supplements are an efficient and easy way to promote your mental and physical health.
They can be a proprietary blend of some unique ingredients, such as minerals and vitamins. Sometimes it is hard to determine the number of ingredients in a blend by just looking at the label of a dietary supplement.
If you’re a healthy individual, it is possible to get all the essential nutrients the body needs through your diet. But there are some conditions, circumstances, and medications when you need dietary supplements to bridge the gap between what you’re eating and what your body needs.
Still, it is important to understand that dietary supplements are meant to supplement, not replace, other compounds or nutrients in your diet. That is to say, when you take dietary supplements, make sure to consume a balanced and varied diet.
Nutrients in Supplements vs. Nutrients in Foods
Including a variety of foods in your diet is the best way to make sure you’re meeting your nutritional needs. It is because you can have food items in endless combinations, and they’ll contain varying amounts of nutrients. Citrus fruits, for instance, come loaded with a high amount of vitamin C. Leafy greens, in the same line, make an excellent source of minerals and vitamin K.
Moreover, foods contain other essential nutrients such as healthy fats, fiber, and proteins. Needless to say, your body needs them to function optimally. Plant-based foods contain a good quantity of phytochemicals and antioxidants. These two compounds play an important role in reducing inflammation and protecting your body from several chronic diseases.
Dietary supplements, in contrast, don’t offer you the same nutritional benefits. As described above, they only meant to add-on -not replace your healthy diet. That is why you see only a concentrated amount of specific nutrients in them.
Observational research on 30,899 adults in the US found that sufficient intake of some nutrients through different food sources can reduce death risk due to heart diseases. However, taking the same nutrients through dietary supplements didn’t reduce the same risk.
Specifically, people with nutritional deficiencies or individuals at increased risk of insufficient nutrient intake can benefit from dietary supplements recommended by a health professional.
Who Needs Dietary Supplements
Generally, if you take a healthy diet or are a healthy adult, you don’t need to take a long list of dietary supplements. While it is better to get essential nutrients through your diet, many people struggle to achieve that.
Besides this, there are several instances in which medical professionals recommend patients use supplements. Usually, following people can benefit from dietary supplements.
pregnant or breastfeeding women
partially or exclusively breastfed infants
children or adults with nutritional deficiencies
individuals suffering from nutrient malabsorption
people who’ve had bariatric surgery
children or adults with restricted access to a variety of foods
vegetarians and vegan
In addition to these, people with vitamin D deficiency are recommended to take supplements. It is because getting enough vitamin D is often difficult to get through diet, unlike other vitamins. As the human body makes maximum vitamin D from sunlight, approximately one billion people have a low level of this vitamin.