Let’s look at nutritional Supplements – Are they important?
Ideally, your diet has all of the nutrients that your body needs. Unfortunately, this does not happen. That is why it is important to consume nutritional supplements to account for deficiencies of these vital nutrients. Otherwise, we face health issues such as a weak immune system, a lack in energy, chronic fatigue syndrome, or the start of a more serious health disorder.
Briefly put, dietary supplements are consumed to provide nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In an ideal world, you would get those nutrients, along with your phytonutrients, just from eating a wholesome diet that included organically grown fruits and vegetables. But this rarely happens. Healthy eating habits and availability of easy fast foods cause most of us to ignore the harmful effects of our poor diet. And even if you did eat your daily fruits and vegetables, the produce that you buy from the store has little nutritional value since they are picked green (before they were ripe), and they were grown in nutrient depleted soils. I won’t even go into the issue of pesticides and chemicals.
Examples in which dietary supplements play an important role in giving positive health benefits:
– If you are a woman over the age of 45, you are more likely to suffer the effects of menopause. Menopause brings change in the hormone levels and consequently thinning of the bones. Osteoporosis leads to fractures unless women take calcium supplements regularly.
– If you know that your diet is poor and that you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals from your regular diet. You need to have 3 to 4 servings of fresh vegetables and fruits every day. If eating a lot of salad is not on your daily menu, then you need dietary supplements.
– If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, dietary supplements ensure that the developing fetus gets appropriate daily requirement of essential nutrients. For example, iron and folate deficiency could cause neural tube defects or poor mental development in the baby. Vitamin C deficiency leads to poor development of gums and Vitamin D deficiency causes impaired development of bones. If you have other pregnancy-related disorders like pica, reduced appetite, nausea etc., you would most probably be not eating right. Therefore, dietary supplements make up for what is lacking in your diet so that your baby is healthy.
– If you suffer from diseases that interfere with normal absorption of nutrients from the diet, as is often the case in old age, supplements provide the additional quantity required in order to make up for reduced uptake.
– Dietary supplements help in speedy recovery from any surgery, by providing the recommended daily allowance. This is especially true for the vitamins in the B group.
While there are many proven benefits to adding dietary supplements to your diet, there are a few precautions you should take. As a rule, never use a dietary supplement without actually finding out whether you need it or not. That is, consult your doctor about whether you suffer from nutritional deficiency that can be corrected only with supplements. Overdose of vitamins may be harmful. Always read the product information and use those that are specific to your needs.