What you should know about nutritional supplements

Caleb Ihuarulam

Caleb Ihuarulam

Nutritional supplements are support for the nutrients we should get from food. A balanced diet supplies the major nutrients and vitamins the body needs. However, the body might require supplements for various reasons. Fluctuations in diet due to work, illnesses that deplete the body’s nutrients or desire to see some bodily gains can necessitate nutritional supplements. How exactly do nutritional supplements help these situations?

What are Nutritional Supplements?

Nutritional supplements are medications or products that improve an individual’s health and wellness. As the name implies, supplements are supplementary. Supplements replenish your body where there is an imbalance or deficiency of a particular nutrient. They are usually taken during meals or at specific intervals to supplement your diet.

Why Do I need them?

You may need nutritional supplements for any of the following reasons:

  • If you find balancing your diet and nutrition challenging, dietary supplements can help provide the missing nutrients.
  • Your doctor can recommend some nutritional supplements to help fight nutrient deficiency in your body that might have caused a disease or illness.
  • If you constantly feel exhausted for one reason or another, nutritional supplements like vitamin B and other iron supplements can help you retain energy.
  • Aside from a healthy diet, supplements help with weight management, immune support, and joint health. This way, you can meet your health and fitness goals.
  • It improves skin hydration, maintains skin integrity, helps retain moisture and protects against environmental damage.

What are some common ones?

Nutritional supplements vary based on their origin, natural or synthetic. They can be taken as pills, powders, tablets, and liquids. Some supplements that improve your health and their benefits include:

  • Vitamin D improves bone health and immune function.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) decreases the risk of neural tube defects.
  • Calcium strengthens your bones.
  • Probiotics aid digestion and gut health
  • Melatonin for sleep
  • Omega-3 fatty acids prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and boost brain function.
  • Multivitamins increase nutrient intake.
  • Garlic supplements lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Ginseng supplements help lower blood sugar levels and control inflammatory diseases.
  • Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as collagen, help with healthy skin.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Nutritional Supplements

Supplements are beneficial but should not be taken in excess amounts. Supplements can interact with certain medicines in ways that might cause problems. They can also pose risks if you have certain health conditions. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children should stay away from specific supplements.

Here are some supplements and their side effects:

  • Overdose of fat-soluble vitamins can cause hypervitaminosis.
  • Vitamin K reacts with Warfarin and other blood thinners, reducing their efficacy.
  • Protein overdose can cause kidney and liver damage.
  • Performance-enhancing drugs may cause endocrine disorders.

Take the recommended dosages. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns or underlying medical conditions.

Here are some things to keep in mind when getting supplements:

  • Supplements are meant to be supplementary, not to be taken as a replacement for healthy food. This means that they amplify the benefits of eating a balanced diet.
  • Supplements should be stored appropriately and kept out of the reach of children.
  • Supplements labelled as “natural” are not necessarily safe.
  • Read through the labels and leaflets. Be wary of drug interactions and ingredients you might be allergic to.
  • Take the dosage as directed by the label and recommended by your doctor.
  • Pay close attention to your health and overall well-being while taking supplements. Speak to your doctor if you notice side effects or have concerns.

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Caleb Ihuarulam

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