Nutritional or dietary supplements are referred to as products added to the diet in order to meet higher nutritional supplements. They contain vitamins and minerals that effectively improve the quality of life of people and enable them to feel better, look better, and sleep better.
On the other hand, nutritional imbalances (vitamin or mineral deficiency) can cause symptoms that result in various health conditions. A nutrient-deficit body can have serious health consequences that can affect daily life and the overall well-being of people. Some common signs of a nutritional imbalance include:
- Trouble sleeping.
- Muscle weakness.
- Dry or brittle hair.
- Dry skin.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Slow-healing wounds.
- Digestive problems.
In busy and chaotic life schedules, most people usually do not have the time or energy to track proper nutrition daily. That’s why dietary supplements can help such people get adequate amounts of essential nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of their bodies.
However, supplements should be taken in the desired or adequate amounts because their excessive intake can exert various negative effects on our health.
Importance of Nutritional Supplements
No matter how healthy and balanced your diet is, you can still experience nutritional deficiencies. Supplements effectively help you get all the nutrients you need, from vitamins to minerals.
Supplementation can help meet the higher nutritional needs of people having more demanding lifestyles or medical conditions. Stress, medical complications, and energetic living can all create a greater need for particular minerals and vitamins in your body.
Close Nutritional Gaps
Eating proper amounts of essential minerals and vitamins plays a significant role in the long-term health of the immune system, joints, bones and heart. According to a study, at least 31% of people are deficient in at least one vitamin. Nutritional supplements effectively close dietary gaps and help maintain or enhance the nutrient density in our bodies.
Regulate Nutrient Absorption
Malabsorption occurs when our body does not take enough nutrients from the food we eat. For example, patients with problems like celiac disease, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s disease, or cystic fibrosis have more difficulty absorbing all the minerals and vitamins required for overall health.
Excessive intake of antibiotics or using laxatives for a prolonged period can also result in nutrient malabsorption. Nutritional supplements help prevent the loss of essential vitamins and minerals and regulate nutrient absorption in our bodies.
Manage Health Conditions
Dietary supplements can also be used to treat various insufficiencies in our bodies, such as calcium, iron or vitamin deficiency, and they can also reduce the risk of medical conditions like hypertension, anorexia, or hypothyroidism. For instance, large doses of vitamin B3 can help raise “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which can reduce the risk of a birth defect called spina bifida. Antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, may also reduce the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs and allow patients to tolerate larger doses of this therapy.
Common Side-Effects of Dietary Supplements
Many supplements contain various active ingredients that can have substantial effects on our bodies. That’s why it is necessary to always consult a healthcare professional before taking any new product and be alert to the possibility of a bad reaction.
People who take nutritional supplements in high doses instead of prescribed medicines are relatively at high risk of having side effects from them. Some supplements can potentially increase the risk of bleeding or, if taken before surgery, can change a patient’s response to anesthesia. Supplements can also interact with some prescribed medicines, which might cause problems.
Here are a few examples:
- Vitamin K can reduce the ability of blood thinner medicines to prevent blood from clotting.
- Antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins C and E, can reduce the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy.
- Vitamin B6, when used in high doses, can cause severe nerve damage. Vitamin B6 can also reduce the effectiveness of the anti-seizure drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease.
- Vitamin A, used with acne medications, can cause vitamin A toxicity.
- Iron and calcium supplements can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics by as much as 40%.
Moreover, manufacturers add vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to some products, especially in breakfast cereals and beverages. As a result, you may get more of these ingredients than you think, and taking more dietary supplements than you need can raise your risk of potential side effects.
For example, too much vitamin A can result in liver damage and headaches. It can also reduce bone strength and cause birth defects. Excess iron causes problems like nausea and vomiting or may damage the liver and other organs. Therefore, be cautious about taking dietary supplements.
Though supplements do not replace the importance of a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, they can still prove to be beneficial for our health if taken in appropriate quantities.
However, reviewing nutrient concerns with a doctor is always the best choice, especially if you are on other medications, and although supplements are beneficial, yet more is not always better.
What Are the Signs That Indicate You Might Have a Nutritional Deficiency?
There are various signs that may indicate your body needs dietary supplements in order to meet the meet nutritional requirements, such as
- Severe hair loss.
- Burning sensation in the feet or tongue.
- Wounds are slow to heal.
- Bone pain.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Night vision deteriorates.
If you face any of the above-mentioned health problems, you should consult your doctor and discuss the type of nutritional supplement that will prove to be beneficial for you. Furthermore, one should not try to take any supplements on their own without a doctor’s recommendation, as sometimes, they can adversely affect your health.
What Are the Different Types of Supplements?
There are many different types of nutritional supplements one can take, including
- Vitamins and minerals.
- Other specific nutrients found in foods, such as omega-3s.
- Antioxidant compounds like amino acids or phytonutrients.
- Non-food compounds found in the body, such as melatonin.
- Herbs and adaptogens.
All these supplements are considered essential for the normal functioning of our bodies.