What you need to know about dietary supplements

What you need to know about dietary supplements

You may have heard about dietary supplements with the term being thrown about more and more these days, but do you know what these products actually do? Taking vitamins every morning could have become a daily ritual without you really knowing their contributing importance to your body. To find out what you need to know, read on for further discussion!

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements are manufactured products taken orally in the form of a pill, tablet, liquid, or powder to supplement your diet. These products boost your consumption of ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, herbs, amino acids, and other nutrients often used to enhance the effectiveness of your immune system and boost your overall health.

How dietary supplements can benefit you

Designed to help you consume the intake of nutrients that you need to follow a healthy lifestyle, dietary supplements hold a range of benefits for your body. Whilst you should be getting what you need from a regular, balanced diet, supplements can help boost this and ensure your body is getting what is required when it is lacking or suffering from a deficiency. Overall, this can keep you healthier and happier in the long run.

Dietary supplements can provide support for mental and physical performance, which may be particularly vital if you undergo strenuous exercise or are taking sports to a career level. Additionally, they give you the immune system support you need to fight off minor pathogens which have the potential to harm you.

Individuals who can benefit the most

Individuals such as pregnant women, elderly people, and those with restricted diets may benefit more from taking dietary supplements. Supplements containing folate can help protect pregnant women against birth defects, whilst elderly people require more vitamins and minerals than younger people for bone strength and the maintenance of red blood cells. Furthermore, people with restricted diets such as being vegan or lactose-intolerant may struggle to digest nutrients, meaning that supplements could supply the necessary ingredients to keep these restricted people healthy.

How effective are dietary supplements?

Supplying you with the essential nutrients for balanced wellbeing, supplements can be extremely effective in keeping you healthy if you don’t eat nutritious foods. Despite this, dietary supplements should never replace the different foods that are crucial to a healthy, balanced diet. Furthermore, some products need to undergo more research before their value can be determined fully.

Examples, how you can source them, and potential risks

Some vitamins and minerals included in dietary supplements offer a great range of health benefits. However, their risks must be taken into consideration.

Vitamin A supports the function of your heart, liver, and lungs amongst other organs. This vitamin can also assist immune system health, eye vision, and reproductive processes. You can source vitamin A from foods such as salmon, leafy green vegetables, squash, and dairy products. However, vitamin A used in retinoid acne medications can potentially cause vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin C not only increases iron absorption but can also boost your immune system. As an antioxidant, it protects our cells from free radicals and helps wounds heal. Vitamin C is most often found in citrus fruits, although can also be found in products such as tomatoes, strawberries, and kiwi fruits. However, keep in mind that this vitamin can prompt diarrhoea when taken in high doses that the gut struggles to absorb.

Vitamin E, similar to C, protects our cells from harmful free radicals, helps prevent dangerous blood clots, and boosts our immune system. You can locate this vitamin from sunflower oil, a range of nuts such as peanuts and almonds, and spinach. Keep the risk in mind that vitamin E can enhance the action of blood thinners, which, in turn, can prompt easy bruising.

Calcium is essential to forming healthy bones and teeth, as well as supporting muscular and metabolic processes. Notoriously, calcium is found in a range of dairy products. However, be aware that calcium supplements can reduce the efficiency of certain antibiotics which may be crucial in fighting off certain diseases.

Whilst all supplement ingredients have a range of benefits, they also clearly come with a few risks, making it important that you consult a doctor before taking these in large doses. Usually, multivitamins are a good option because they provide small micronutrient doses of what your body needs. Keep in mind that your body doesn’t necessarily need supplements with a balanced diet, although they can offer health benefits to get you living healthier today.

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