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What you need to know about supplements before taking them

"Nutritional supplements are not medical products; therefore, they cannot exert metabolic, pharmacological, or immunological action." - John K.

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Dietary supplements are intended to boost and correct nutritional deficiencies, support certain physiological functions, and aid in the adequate intake of specific nutrients. Nutritional supplements contain nutritional components such as amino acids, herbs, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes in different forms like pills, capsules, powder, and gummies that fill the nutritional gap in your diet to achieve certain wellness goals and promote healthy body functionality.


Supplements improve your regular diet by providing essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that help you sleep better, look better, and feel better. Nutritional imbalance is associated with symptoms such as muscle weakness, dry skin, chronic fatigue, slow-healing wounds, trouble sleeping, brittle hair, and digestive problems.

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Why take nutritional supplements?

  • Boosts your body’s defenses

A deficiency in nutrients such as folic acid, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, C, and D alters the body’s immune response. These vital nutrients help the body by supporting functional activities and the growth of cells; working as antioxidants to promote healthy cells, and producing antibodies that help fight viral, bacterial, and fungal infections in your body. Vitamins C, D, and zinc are the essential micronutrients that support your immune system. The body cannot produce vitamin C; therefore, supplementing with vitamin C or ascorbic acid to meet the recommended daily intake will enhance the cellular functions of the immune system, support strong immune responses, and help the body repair tissues, absorb iron, and heal wounds.

For maximum health benefits, it is recommended to take about 200 mg of vitamin C per day. Vitamin D enhances your body's immune system to fight against viral and bacterial illnesses like the common cold. Supplementing your diet with about 10 micrograms or 400 international units of vitamin D helps reduce respiratory infections. Zinc supplementation plays a vital role in blood sugar control and enhanced lipid parameters in people with diabetes. It also helps in the secretion and storage of insulin, the hormone that promotes the absorption of sugar from supplements and foods we consume. The recommended intake of zinc per day is about 11 milligrams for men and 8 milligrams for women.

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  • To fill the nutritional gap

The depletion of soil nutrients due to improper crop rotation, use of pesticides, and other chemicals that destroy microorganisms in the soil results in limited nutrients in the diet consumed, which therefore contributes to inadequate intake of essential micronutrients. The vital nutrients affected by soil depletion include protein, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, and calcium. Nutritional supplements back up your diet and enhance nutrient absorption. Lack of essential nutrients in your diet contributes to carbohydrate malabsorption, impaired cognition, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, eye disease, and infections, which lead to body weakening. The common supplements that fill your nutritional gap include:

Calcium

Calcium plays an important role in maintaining and building strong bones and enhances the proper functioning of muscles, the heart, and nerves. Calcium and vitamin D protect your body against diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. It is recommended to take about 2500 mg per day for adults between 19 and 50, and about 2000 mg for those 51 and older. If you cannot meet the recommended intake of calcium from diet alone, calcium supplements may help you meet the required intake. Excessive supplementation of calcium causes a condition known as hypercalcemia and is linked with kidney stones, bone weakening, and interfering with your brain and heart's functioning.

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Vitamins (multivitamins)

Vitamins are essential for building a strong immune system, enhancing stronger muscles, improving short-term memory, and increasing your body's energy levels. Deficiency in vitamins may result in various symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, poor wound healing, and infection risks. A lack of adequate vitamin D in your diet increases your susceptibility to infections and autoimmune disorders, causes muscle weakness, and increases the risks of fracture and bone pain caused by osteomalacia. The amount of vitamin D intake depends on various factors, such as latitude, season, age, clothing, and sun exposure. The recommended intake of vitamin D is about 600–800 IU, which is equivalent to about 15-20 mcg.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 facilitates healthy nerves and blood cells, enhances the formation of DNA, and prevents the risks of megaloblastic anemia, which weakens your body. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 for adults is about 2.4 mcg. Vitamin B12 deficiency may contribute to intestinal problems, anemia, fatigue, and muscle weakness. You can get vitamin B12 (cobalamin) from meat, poultry, dairy products, and fortified cereals. Vegans and vegetarians might be prone to vitamin B12 deficiency since plant-based foods lack vitamin B12; therefore, it is important to supplement vitamin B12 to achieve their daily recommended intake. Other supplements include fish oil, which helps support a healthy heart. Vitamin A enhances vision and delays vision loss due to age-related muscular degeneration.

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  • Absorption of nutrients declines as you age

Your immune system and metabolic rate decline as you grow older, which affects the rate at which your body functions. This may alter the absorption of vital nutrients such as calcium, vitamins, proteins, iron, copper, and other essential micronutrients, which may disturb normal body functioning. Older people over 50 require more minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, which works with vitamin D to promote strong bones and help your immune system, muscles, and nerves function properly as you age. Loss of bone leads to fractures in both older men and women.

They also need adequate vitamin B6, which enhances the formation of red blood cells. You can acquire vitamin B6 from potatoes, chicken breasts, and bananas. As you age, it is important to get sufficient amounts of omega-3s in your diet. It is vital for your brain, eyes, and sperm cells. Omega-3s help to fight against age-related diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. It is good to consume omega-3s from natural food sources such as walnuts, canola oil, or fish.

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  • Exercise needs more nutrients

Athletes use nutritional supplements to boost their nutrient levels, maintain a certain energy level, and lose weight. Supplements such as vitamins, herbs, amino acids, minerals, and electrolytes reduce muscle breakdown during workouts, help reduce soreness, provide fuel to maintain your energy throughout the workout session, improve your endurance, and make you feel focused during the workout session. It is important to replenish vital nutrients, fuel your energy, and enhance recovery after exercise. Your diet should include more protein and carbs. The recommended supplements to get the required calories to fuel your body are protein powders.

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What you need to know about supplements!

In modern society, there is a myriad of misunderstandings and myths regarding the vitamins and minerals that we need, how much is needed, and the consequences of consuming them. For instance, the negative and positive effects of supplements on the body. When it comes to taking supplements, you should understand which vital vitamins and minerals are needed by the body and what diet to consume to give those supplements. There are necessary things one should keep in mind before deciding to start taking supplements, which include:

  • You should know that supplements are not as safe and regulated as the majority of people tend to believe. There are major misunderstandings about the safety of supplements that can cause trouble for unprescribed customers. The first misunderstanding is that there are regulations concerning their safety. Other retailers and pharmacies may make their own supplements and vet them for their patients without considering the safety of the product, which has no guarantee in terms of quality or its contents. This may prevent it from being inspected and established, and thus the regulations of the dietary supplements may be hindered or limited.

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  • The second misconception or assumption about dietary supplements is that when they have been seen or placed in a natural food store or at the pharmacy, they are safe for intake. However, the label that says it's natural or has an over-the-counter status does not imply that the supplement is right for consumption, which does not mean it won't have harmful side effects when taken.


  • Too much of certain vitamins and minerals can have severe effects on your body. The body needs supplements such as minerals and vitamins for it to operate as efficiently as possible, but only in a certain amount. Taking more than the recommended amount can be dangerous and toxic to your body. Therefore, it’s better to be regulating the intake of supplements to avoid unnecessary adverse effects. For instance, too much vitamin D normally weakens the bones, an excess of vitamin B6 can cause nerve pain, and too much vitamin C may cause diarrhea and nausea. You should be careful when taking these supplements by checking the tolerable upper intake level, as it is different for each vitamin or mineral taken.

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  • Check up with your healthcare provider before starting supplements. Before starting any supplements, speak with your doctor about whether or not the deficiency exists or if you have any concerns regarding the supplements. Dietary supplements, which include minerals and vitamins, can interfere with prescribed medications, and taking a larger daily dose than the recommended amount can have negative side effects that may be harmful to your body's health.

People take nutritional supplements to ensure that they get the maximum amount of vital nutrients and improve or maintain their health. Dietary supplements have various benefits, such as managing various health conditions and boosting your overall health. Combining supplements in more than the recommended amount, such as vitamin A, may cause liver damage, reduced bone strength, and headaches.

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It is recommended to get essential nutrients from food, as they are the most potent. A balanced diet and the use of food as your primary nutrient sources - such as vitamins, proteins, and minerals - contain healthy nutrients that pills cannot duplicate.

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