A dietary supplement is a product whose composition is based on a dietary ingredient, and that is taken in addition to a normal, regular diet. The said dietary ingredient could be a mineral, herb, vitamin, amino acid, enzyme, or a metabolite, etc. A dietary supplement is often associated with a pill like any conventional drug, but it is not always the case. Dietary supplements come in varied forms, e.g., powder, liquid, bar, or even as a tea. If something is explicitly manufactured as a dietary supplement, the food and drug regulatory authorities stipulate that it must be labeled accordingly, so that the consumers do not confuse it with either regular food or medicine.
Dietary supplements are just as the name implies; they are supplements. The manufacturers do not claim it as a cure for any disease. Health practitioners often recommend dietary supplements as an add-on and not as a treatment for some weakness or illness. The reason is the varied effects of dietary supplements on different individuals. The research into the use and efficacy of dietary supplements is often not as extensive as in the case of conventional medicine. However, the use of dietary supplements has not gained so much traction for anything. It may not be the go-to product for every health ailment, but numerous studies vouch for the efficacy of dietary supplements, especially some supplements. This article will look into both the pros and cons of dietary supplements. Before using something, one should at least have basic knowledge about the possible benefits or limitations of the product, especially if it is health-related.
Pros of Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are famous for a reason. Several benefits are linked to the use of dietary supplements. Numerous studies and real-life testimonials vouch for their efficacy. It should, however, be noted that dietary supplements are in no way a replacement for natural food products; the benefits are an adds-on to what we get from our regular food intake.
As mentioned above, dietary supplements work as an add-on with a normal diet. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to state that such supplements provide a nutritional boost. Sometimes, you are unable to get the required amount of nutrients from your diet. It could be either due to age, compromised health status, or just unavailability of certain food items where you are living. In such circumstances, dietary supplements can be taken to make up for the unavailability of those essential nutrients. The efficacy of the supplements can be ascertained after using it for a few weeks.
In most cases, the results are person-specific. It may be giving the desired results for one person but may not be beneficial for another. That in no way means that the supplement does not work; it is just the response of the body’s internal mechanism to a specific supplement.
Combating Chronic Disease
Supplements like fish oil have proven to be extremely beneficial in combating problems like blood pressure. A significant number of studies have also proven the efficacy of these supplements in decreasing the risk of heart disease. If there is consensus on the usefulness of any supplement, it is on fish oil supplements. However, care must be taken on the recommended daily allowance of the supplements. Too much of anything is bad. What is useful in these supplements are the omega-3 fatty acids. These are the good fats that the human body needs for optimal function. You should carefully read the label to ascertain the amount present in each capsule and check it with the recommended daily dose. Since these fish oil supplements are sourced naturally, their mode of action will also mimic the natural way.
In addition to this popular dietary supplement, other supplement helps the body deal effectively with diabetes symptoms and boost immunity. You need to consult your health practitioner before including them in your routine as the evidence of their efficacy is not very widespread. You can go to a supplement store online and look for the ones that come with the highest recommendation.
Nature has the best cure
In the past few years, there has been a rising trend of natural supplements instead of synthetically manufactured supplements. These dietary supplements usually come in the form of powders and pack a punch when it comes to their benefits. Some of the most popular ones that have been shown to boost immunity, overall strength, and fight inflammation include a powdered form of bone broth, turmeric, garlic, and mushroom. These are just the concentrated forms of what humans already consume. These alternatives have gained popularity because the nutrient content of the food we regularly consume has gone down in the past few decades.
Cons of Dietary Supplements
Not everything is good all the time, especially if used in excess. That is what has happened with dietary supplements, as well. People have started using them as an alternative to their regular diet, and this is proving to be a problem.
Composition and Bioavailability
One of the most significant problems that many fail to realize is the composition of dietary supplements. The way the majority of these supplements are synthesized is problematic as they are not similar to the natural process. The complexity of natural synthesis cannot be mimicked, and thus the bioavailability of the dietary supplement is markedly different from the natural food ingredients. Natural ingredients work in synchronization to provide multiple benefits, but the dietary supplements can work on limited aspects at one time. Therefore, it can be deduced that even though they will provide some benefits, it will not be holistic. It must be understood that dietary supplements can never be a substitute for your fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat. If you are skipping on your meals and taking dietary supplements to compensate for the nutrients and still feeling not healthy, then you cannot blame dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are not your one-stop solution to your quality and productivity in life.
Medication and Supplements
It is strongly recommended not to take any dietary supplements against the advice of your doctor if you are taking medication for any health problem. Some supplements can interfere with the working of your medicine, and they can end up doing more harm than good. Even the widely acclaimed fish oil supplements must not be taken against the advice of your doctor when you are on medication. The dietary supplements cannot only interfere with the mode of action of medicines you are taking but can also cause side effects. Vitamin K has been known to reduce the effectiveness of blood thinners. Also, it has been observed that chemotherapy efficacy declines with the use of Vitamin C and E dietary supplements. It should be noted here that supplements have known to cause the problem, not the foods that naturally contain these vitamins.
One of the most common and dangerous problems with dietary supplements is over-dosage. Natural food products contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in the required dosage. But that is not the case with specially synthesized supplements. Due to which the danger of over-dosage is always there. Care must be taken so that you do not overdose on supplements, as the consequences can be damaging.
The Final Word
Regardless of the pros and cons of dietary supplements, any addition to the diet that is not natural should be carefully examined. It is best to consult an expert before including dietary supplements in your routine.