A secret to healthy life lies in your diet. A balanced diet maintains your body health and ensures the physical fitness. Like many other things, eating habits and food quality have changed a lot and the diet we are taking fails to fulfill the nutrient requirements. Dietary supplements are the alternative of natural nutrients and help an individual to fill the gap by providing necessary the food elements.
What are Dietary Supplements?
A dietary supplement is a product that helps to compensate for the nutrient deficiency and known as the food alternative. Dietary supplements include different dietary ingredients such as amino acid, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids. They come in different forms including capsules, liquids, tablets, chewable, and lozenges.
The purpose and benefit of the supplements vary from type to type. Some supplements aim to complete the healthy intake of nutrients of the day while others act as defenders against various diseases. Always consult your doctor and avoid excess dose to prevent the possible health risks. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) categorizes dietary supplements in the food category instead of drugs.
When do you need dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplements can play a vital role to improve the health conditions. Vitamins and minerals are known as micronutrients and their appropriate amount in the body strengthens the immune system and helps to fight against the harmful bacteria and germs. U.S. Preventive Task Force report that published in February 2014 also asserts the fact that dietary supplements minimize the risks of cancer, heart attack, and chronic diseases. We have jotted down some situations where dietary supplements are recommended by the nutritionists.
- Micro nutrient Deficiency
Blood test informs a person about the deficiency of micro nutrients. One can easily get the required level of the specific nutrient by taking the relevant supplement as per the doctor’s prescription.
Poor diet badly affects females that leads towards several complications during the pregnancy. It also risks the fetus health and causes birth defects. Vitamins and folic acid are the building blocks and their deficiency can be eliminated with the help of the supplements.
- Dietary Limitations
Many people are allergic or dislike meant or vegetables that leave nutrient deficiency in their bodies. The nutrients you can’t get from food can easily be obtained from the supplements.
Food habits and requirements change as a person gets older. Usually, older people eat less and the calories change can result in the deficiency of minerals and vitamins. Dietary supplements can successfully accomplish the required level of micro nutrients.
- Medical Problems
Complex surgeries and chronic diseases affect the body functions such as GI tract diseases make it difficult for the patient to absorb essential nutrients. Likewise, vitamin B12 deficiency occurs due to the proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux.
The other people who can boost their health with the help of dietary supplements are listed below:
- Pregnant women and a breastfeeding mother.
- Females who feel weakness after the heavy menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
- Food allergic people and those who have digestive problems such as gastrointestinal disease and lactose intolerance
- Vegetarians lack the healthy nutrients found in the meat.
Types of Dietary Supplements
There are different types of dietary supplements based on their manufacturing and the presence of the ingredients. Natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic are the three common types while a person can also take a supplement as per his or her need. In such a situation, it’s necessary to check the substance of the supplement such as fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. Without any further ado, let’s discuss them one by one.
- Natural Dietary Supplements
This is known as the best type of the supplements as they are derived from natural resources. Both organic and inorganic resources are used for the extraction of the supplements. The organic sources include plants and animal tissues while sea salt is the example of the non-organic source.
- Synthetic Supplements
Synthetic processes are followed for the preparation of synthetic supplements. They are artificially created and have a considerable amount of chemicals. Most of the physicians don’t recommend it due to the presence of excess chemicals and their possible health risks. Unlike the other food items, no stern inspection rules are followed for the testing of synthetic supplements that raises many eyebrows.
- Semi-Synthetic Supplements
Both natural and artificial substances are used in the manufacturing of semi-synthetic supplements. The actual source of these supplements are the natural substances derived from animals and plants. Later, they are altered to chemicals to enhance their productivity and benefits. However, the entire process doesn’t affect the benefits of the supplements and minimal changes occur in the overall composition.
Benefits of Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements have immense benefits and most of them are safe to use. They are the alternative of the food and covers up the deficiency of the balanced diet.
- Completes Nutrient Requirements
Nutrient deficiency is a major reason for the poor health. The issue is very common among veneration who restrict themselves from essential vitamins and amino acids present in animal meat and poultry. One can access these essential nutrients with the help of the supplements and they can identify the lacking nutrient with the help of blood and urine tests.
- Boost Metabolism
Metabolism is responsible for the digestion of the food substances into the blood and improves the body functioning. An adequate amount of vitamin B is required for the better performance of the metabolism. It’s a highly beneficial nutrient required for all age groups. The presence of vitamin B and folic acid Is necessary for the pregnant women to prevent the possible tube defects in the fetus.
- Strengthen the Bones
Above the age of 40-years, human bones start deteriorating and lack the mineral density. Natural supplements are highly effective in such situations as they provide all the necessary elements required for the bone strengthening. These substances include zinc, phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium. The regular use of the supplements prevents bone breakage, osteoporosis, and bone weakness.
- Prevent Allergies
Nutrient deficiency weakens the immune system and the body becomes more vulnerable to allergies and diseases. One can get the required nutrients from supplements if he or she is gluten intolerance or a problem to a staple food such as egg, fish, etc.
- Fight against Diseases
Don’t think dietary supplements as a medicine rather they help the body to acquire all necessary elements which are needed for the strengthening of the body. A healthy body can effortlessly fight against different diseases. Dietary supplements remove the deficiency of the nutrients and prevent the body from several health risks associated with poor diet.
Things to Consider while Buying Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements have several benefits, but special care is required in the selection of these supplements as their testing process is not very reliable. Following are the points you should keep into the mind while buying dietary supplements:
- Always consult your doctor about the dietary supplement you want to use. Provide the complete detail of your diet and the medicines you are taking so they get to know the right situation and prescribe the best supplements. Urine and blood test reports can help the doctor in prescription.
- An individual lack in one or two nutrients, not in all. For the best results, take the relevant supplement and don’t try to take all of its types.
- Prefer natural and semi-synthetic supplements and avoid synthetic supplements as the ingredients of these supplements are not defined.
- Don’t forget to read the label instructions and the ingredients so you get to know whether or not the supplements are safe for you.
- Dietary supplements aren’t tested on breastfeeding mother and pregnant women. They must ask doctors before starting a dietary supplement as the chances of the interaction of these supplements are higher with other medicines.
- Check the FDA approval and contact the manufacturing brad or visit their website for the further details.
Role of FDA
Food and Dietary Administration (FDA) is responsible for the regulation of the dietary supplements. Before DSHEA 1994, the testing process of dietary supplements was similar to other food items. Later, it was removed from the list of drugs and it came under the umbrella of new regularity framework. The new act isn’t very strict and makes the manufacturer responsible for ensuring the safety and benefits of the dietary-ingredients.
FDA hold the authority of taking action against unhygienic supplements and can also take notice of introducing the misbranded dietary supplements in the market. FDA restricts a manufacturer to label the ingredients and share the chemical composition of the supplement for the information of the users. Moreover, it demands three types of claims from the manufacturer which are listed below.
Health Claim: It refers to the relationship (positive or negative) between the food component and a certain medical condition. FDA restricts the manufacturer to clearly mention the disease and the component.
Function Claim: Function claim states the effect the of supplements on the body and describes how the body structure gets to benefit from it.
Nutrient Content Claim: It helps to make a comparison between the two food types. High, low, effective, useful are the examples of the nutrient content claim.
Dietary supplements are safe to use and have no significant side-effect unless you have some serious disease. No need to worry about the testing process as the manufacturing of the supplements is easy to follow and the benefits are the same as the manufacturer claims. Don’t start taking supplements on your own and always consult the doctor at first. Carefully read the labels and check out if there is an ingredient listed that is harmful to you. Contact the manufacturer directly to remove any ambiguity or get further details.