In recent years, the market for dietary supplements has grown considerably. The reasons for this growth include an increase in the number of people diagnosed with and exhibiting diabetes, an increase in the number of children diagnosed with and showing autism spectrum disorders and an increase in the number of people who are overweight and obese. As we are seeing, the medical community is recognizing the increasing importance of healthy diets and exercise as the basis for maintaining overall good health. However, many of us are still skeptical as to whether supplements are really necessary or even beneficial. In this article, we’ll take a look at the health benefits of dietary supplements and why they are becoming so popular.
A dietary supplement is usually a single-ingredient product meant to augment one’s daily diet by taking a single pill, capsule, powder or liquid supplement. A supplement may offer nutrients both extracted from food sources or which are synthetic so as to increase the daily amount of the nutrient. For example, there is a supplement that contains all of the B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and more. It is primarily used as a preventative measure for those suffering from deficiencies and in some instances, helps to treat ongoing illnesses or conditions. However, it can also help to improve the function of some organs and may be used to treat some nutritional deficiencies.
The most common supplements are those which are in the form of either pills powders or liquids and contain either certain vitamins or minerals, amino acids, enzymes or herbal extracts. They are sold in grocery stores, health food stores and even pharmacies but often are also found at a more convenient and cost effective venues such as over the internet. Dietary supplements are designed to provide your body with the nutrients that it needs in order for them to perform their proper functions or for you to achieve a healthy body weight.
The market is flooded with nutritional supplements that promise to provide the antioxidants your body needs to keep your heart healthy and fight off free radicals. The first group of ingredients are antioxidants which come in the form of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and these are designed to be taken on a daily basis through diet or a daily dose provided through a nutritional supplement. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and increase life span. However, the effectiveness of antioxidants to reduce the risk of heart disease or life-threatening diseases has not been fully established.
Another group of nutrients that supplements are commonly sold to include vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are available in tablet or capsule form and they will provide the same benefits that a good diet can provide. However, in addition to a good diet, a supplement may be necessary in order to get the right level of nutrients. Also, a supplement can be combined with a healthy diet or a fat burning diet in the effort to get the most benefit out of the supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements are commonly sold that contain fish oil as one of the main ingredients. While this type of supplement may be effective, it does not contain the essential fatty acids that you need in order for your body to function optimally. Essential fatty acids are found in flaxseed oil and other products that contain these fatty acids. Taking flaxseed oil alone may be beneficial but it will not provide the benefits that the other essential fatty acids will.
Do not take supplements if you have an underlying medical condition. Some supplements can interact with medications or medical devices. Always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before you make any dietary supplements. Make sure that the doctor has given you the all-clear regarding the supplements’ intended use. In addition, do not take more than advised by your doctor because some medicines can react badly with certain dietary supplements.
Remember that not all supplements will be effective for you. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should consult your doctor about the supplements you wish to take. Also, always remember that no single supplement will provide all of the nutrients you need. Your diet will provide most of the nutrients your body needs and the supplements are simply a part of your overall health care regimen.