Dietary supplements have been a huge fad since a long time now. A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a dietary ingredient and / or a new dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet.
Today’s dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms: traditional tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as drinks and energy bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and E; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and specialty products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.
An increasing number of people are consuming dietary supplements, for one or more of the following reasons:
- To improve overall health and fitness
- To prolong vitality and delay the onset of age related problems as a tonic,
- Tor symptoms of stress
- To improve performance and body building in sports and athletics to prevent or
- Treat various signs and symptoms associated with disease.
If you don’t eat a nutritious variety of foods, some supplements might help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. For example, calcium and vitamin D are important for keeping bones strong and reducing bone loss; folic acid decreases the risk of certain birth defects; and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils might help some people with heart disease.
However, supplements can’t replace fresh foods that are important to a healthy diet
Supplements vs Actual Foods
More number of nutrients per gram weight– A dietary supplement is a compact pill that contains concentrated form of one nutrients. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. it is indeed the great skills manship of nature that the most of the times it is the combination of these nutrients that works well than innnnn isolation .
Greater satiety value due to fiber – while a pill may provide you the nutients in recommened allowance, it does not gie you the satisfaction associated with actual chewing and enjoying the foods. Most of the fruits and vegetables have high amounts of fiber which impart good satiety value to them.
Protective substances. IN addition to the common nutrients , most natural foods have additional active component which may be present due to the unique colour, flavour, in the skin, etc
Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants — substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
But no matter how much we try, we can’t replicate the nature exactly!
Safety and Risk
Although dietary supplements are mostly tested fr safety there is always a margin of error. Also, in India there is very poor regulation on accuracy of labeling and packaging. So you can expect some hazards
it is important to not take an overdose and self medicate. some supplements are more risky when combined with others that are non compatible.
Some supplements can increase the risk of bleeding or, if a person takes them before or after surgery, they can affect the person’s response to anesthesia. Dietary supplements can also interact with certain prescription drugs in ways that might cause problems. Here are just a few examples:
- Vitamin K can reduce the ability of the blood thinner to prevent blood from clotting.
- Antioxidant supplements, like vitamins C and E, might reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.
While you take supplements, be aware that most of the everyday consumables nw a days are fortified As a result, we may be getting more of the same ingredients than you think, and more might not be better. Taking more than you need is always more expensive and can also raise your risk of experiencing side effects. For example, getting too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, and cause birth defects. Excess iron causes nausea and vomiting and may damage the liver and other organs.
Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving them (beyond a basic multivitamin/mineral product) to a child. Most dietary supplements have not been well tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.
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