To be honest, most of us do not meet up with our daily nutritional needs from food alone. Little wonder, studies show that more than half of Americans take dietary supplements daily, with multivitamins being the most popular. In fact, research has shown that 70% of older adults use at least one type of dietary supplement to complement their diet.
Taking dietary supplements have been shown to offer a plethora of benefits, but they are not completely without risk, and that’s why it is often advisable to first talk to your doctor before including a dietary supplement into your routine.
You need to understand that the nutrients that you need to maintain a healthy body and prevent diseases may not be enough in your foods. That’s where supplements come in. These products often fill the gaps of bodily nutrition requirements.
Apart from supplying your body with needed nutrients, people take supplements to improve memory, boost physical performance, build muscle, and delay fatigue, amongst many other reasons.
However, if used unwisely, you can suffer some adverse side effects.
So, let’s quickly discuss the good sides and the downsides of taking dietary supplements.
What are the Pros of Dietary Supplements?
Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy from taking dietary supplements:
A boost in nutrition
Literally, supplements are meant to complement your diet. If you lack certain nutrients in your diet for one reason or the other, say you lack vitamin B-12 because you’re a vegan, for example, dietary supplements may help supply these nutrients in the recommended daily amount.
Also, vitamin D deficiency is often recorded in people living with type 2 diabetes. And taking dietary supplements is a good way to supply your body with this vitamin.
Dietary supplements such as organic vegan superfood mix contains a combination of 50+ fruits, vegetables, prebiotic fiber, probiotics, herbs, which supplies the body with the right nutrients needed to keep your body running smoothly.
However, dietary supplements are not intended to replace a healthy, balanced diet. Instead, these products are meant to complement and boost your nutrition.
Combat chronic diseases
Dietary supplements help the body combat chronic diseases. Taking fish oil supplements, for example, may help reduce triglycerides and lower blood pressure, decreasing your risk of heart disease.
Also, taking dietary supplements can help prevent certain medical conditions. As a pregnant woman, taking folic acid can help reduce the risk of having a baby with defects.
Several other dietary supplements help protect against serious diseases and medical issues.
Taking dietary supplements is very easy and convenient. This makes it a good option for people who do not have enough time to get food or prepare healthy food. You can take supplements in capsule, pill, liquid, or gummy forms to supply your body with key nutrients to get going and stay healthy.
Cons of Dietary Supplements
Now, let’s discuss some of the downsides associated with taking dietary supplements:
Not a food replacement
No matter how much you take supplements, it can never be a replacement for food. Eating food supplies your body with a complex constellation of nutrients and vitamins. Foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are rich in phytochemicals that are beneficial for healthy living.
So taking dietary supplements doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your recommended servings of vegetables, fruits, and grains.
Risk of toxicity
Taking higher doses of dietary supplements, especially beyond the recommended daily allowance, can be toxic. For example, if you take fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E in excess, they may accumulate to toxic levels within your body.
Hence, it is always advisable to take precautionary measures to stick to your daily recommended servings. Herbal and botanical supplements can also accumulate to toxic levels if you have underlying health conditions including chronic liver and kidney disease.
Risk of drug interaction
Dietary supplements may interact with your prescription drugs and cause adverse side effects. That’s more reason you should always talk to your doctor before starting on any supplement.
More so, you should always ensure you buy from a reputable health product manufacturer to ensure you’re not putting harmful substances into your body. You should always check for the certificates of analysis from a certified third-party laboratory.
Looking at the Pros and Cons highlighted above, dietary supplements are sure helpful in fulfilling nutritional needs, but keep in mind that they are not a complete replacement for natural whole foods.
And, while you get a plethora of benefits from dietary supplements, it is important that you stick to recommendations. Taking an excess amount of nutritional and herbal supplements can put your health at risk. So, ensure you always communicate with your healthcare provider about any supplements you’re adding to your routine.