What are dietary supplements? Simply put, a dietary supplement is basically a manufactured product meant to supplement one’s daily diet by Taking a pill, tablet, capsule, powder or liquid in place of food. A supplement can give nutrients either naturally extracted from plants or that are synthetic so as to increase the amount of the intake. The most common dietary supplements are vitamins and minerals, amino acids, herbal extracts and enzymes. The most famous among them being beta carotene, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and polysaccharides.
However, one should be careful while selecting the supplements, as they come in various brands and the contents may not necessarily be appropriate for your health condition or needs. For instance, supplements containing only vitamins, minerals or amino acids may be inadequate for those who have diseases such as diabetes or heart problems. More importantly, while purchasing these products one must keep in mind that they do not replace food but merely act as a supplement. As such, it is important to read the label carefully.
What are the supplements used for? Dietary supplements are used widely by patients who are looking to improve their health conditions by augmenting the essential vitamins and minerals in their body. For example, those who are looking to reduce the risk of osteoporosis incorporate dietary supplements into their everyday routine. These supplements are designed to contain all the essential vitamins and minerals one would need to counter the effects of aging such as vitamin e, vitamin b12, vitamin c, folic acid, niacin and calcium. Vitamin supplements are typically used along with other proven methods of preventing osteoporosis such as physical exercise and taking antioxidant vitamins.
Are dietary supplements a quick-fix solution to health woes? In reality, dietary supplements are vital in maintaining good health as they help in meeting the dietary needs of an individual. However, they are not miracle pills and should not be relied on too much. It is important for people to remember that what works for one person might not work for another because everyone has different genes, body chemistry and constitution.
Why take supplements? Dietary supplements are usually taken to address nutritional deficiencies or to achieve the desired amounts of certain beneficial substances required by the body. For instance, if you are looking to get enough vitamins and minerals to fight cancer, you would consider taking supplements. Similarly, if you want to tone your muscles, you can opt for supplements to provide the substances necessary to build the muscle.
How do supplements work? When taken together with a balanced diet, dietary supplements work together with a person’s healthy diet to boost the immune system and enable the body to fight infections. The right supplement works in synergy with the right diet. While it is true that you cannot completely feed on your vitamins and other nutrients without a healthy diet, supplements can be an incredible way of getting all the essential nutrients you need without the fuss and bother of eating healthy. There are various nutrients that work in synergy with each other and if you take all the right ones, you can gain benefits that most dieticians can only dream about.
Supplements containing antioxidants are becoming popular these days and have gained in popularity for several reasons. Scientific research has proven the effectiveness of antioxidants and finding out more about their benefits has made them even more popular among the masses. Among the most common supplements containing antioxidants are beta carotene, vitamin e, L-carnitine, vitamin A, vitamin C and various vitamins including B-complex.
Clinical studies have revealed that the intake of antioxidant supplements has lowered the chances of heart disease and stroke. However, before you rush off and buy all these supplements to protect your heart and brain from damage, you should first consult your doctor. Herbal supplements are a great way to get the antioxidants you need, without the hassle of food labels and cooking instructions.