Vitamin supplements: good or bad?
The current trend in the market is to promote various supplements that claim to provide wonderful benefits for almost all problems under the sun. These create hype among the people claiming to do the impossibilities like attaining a perfect hourglass figure, enhancing beauty by eliminating wrinkles and creases, boosting energy, vitality moods and what not. You name it and there is a product for resolving everything available in the form of protein shakes, health drinks or nutritional supplements, catering to diverse age groups.
So much so the industries involved in the manufacturing of these ‘so called super foods’ have become of the biggest markets with a massive earning potential. But then, the million dollar question is, are these dietary supplements really worth their claims and do they in actual truth ensure quality life and health?
Dietary Supplements- Info
The highly marketed supplementary products are mostly manufactured using dietary ingredients like amino acids, botanicals, herbs, minerals and vitamins along with components that include metabolites, glandular, organ tissues and enzymes. These are marketed in capsules, gel caps, soft gels and pill forms. Nevertheless, these do not make good alternatives for food; instead just fill the gaps created by certain deficiencies in the body. Therefore, according to experts it is imperative to derive the required nutrition by eating healthy consuming a well-balanced diet comprising of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, low fat dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds to promote optimal health.
Advantages of Dietary Supplements
The human body needs and utilises just a minimal amount of nutrients for effective functioning of the metabolic process. Nonetheless, in the modern world, varied lifestyle factors such as diets consisting of unhealthy processed junk food combined with a sedentary existence contribute towards nutritional shortfall, leading to various health complications. It is then these supplements come in handy, to obtain the missing required daily value of essential nutrients.
According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, women taking vitamin D and calcium supplements during their premenopausal years were less prone to fractures and decreased bone density. Likewise, taking Folic acid during pregnancy offers protection to the foetus from risk of developing birth defects like spina bifida, which is a condition of underdeveloped bones in one or more of the spines. Furthermore, since teenagers and young women during their reproductive and nursing stage generally pose a risk for vitamin D deficiency, they are often advised to take supplements to compensate for the shortage.
Disadvantages of Dietary Supplements
Consuming excessive amounts of these products are likely to cause adverse reactions. For instance, excessive vitamin A supplements besides affecting the liver can cause birth defects and headaches, making the bones weak and brittle. Other risks include nerve damage, muscle weakness, weight loss, vomiting and nausea. Apart from this combination of vitamin and minerals affect absorption along with a tendency to interfere with prescribed medications, making it rather difficult to manage the medical condition.
Before taking any kind of supplement, seek the advice of a doctor regarding the ones suitable for you. Remember any vitamin labelled ‘natural’ need not be completely safe, therefore check before purchasing them for mega doses (more than the required daily allowance) especially in the case of vitamins and minerals as excessive intake can lead to toxicity and other complications. In case of experiencing any side effects discontinue use and consult a doctor.