Modern lifestyle and the industrial production of food have brought us plenty of information on dietary and nutritional supplements that protect our health. Is it all just like in a commercial? Who benefits the most from such products – the manufacturer or the user?
There is no doubt that the best way to obtain the nutrients that our body requires is from healthy foods. According to Ion Labs, as the current diet is becoming more nutritionally deficient, resorting to food supplements seems to be our best alternative. Although it may be a good idea to consume them, it is crucial to do it in a responsible way to determine which supplements are the most suitable for us.
Dietary supplements are foods that supplement a regular diet. They are usually in the form of capsules, tablets, pills, bags of powder, ampoules of liquid, dosage bottles in drops, and so on. Dietary products include formulas for babies, baby foods, foods for citizens’ specific needs, gluten-free meals, lactose-free foods, diabetic foods, nutritional substitutes for table salt (for some categories of cardiovascular patients), weight loss products, honey products, propolis, milk, herbal preparations, milk with vitamin A and D supplements, iron-fortified foods, etc.
Disadvantages of consuming dietary food supplements
When we talk about food supplements, the idea that usually comes to mind is something healthy that will improve our health. However, some disadvantages accompany its consumption that we are often unaware of.
Food is healthier
Although we have heard it so many times that consuming supplements is an excellent way to be nourished, it is essential to recognize that the best option to obtain our nutrients is undoubtedly a proper diet. Supplements can mimic the nutritional value of food and the unique combination of nutrients that each offers. Besides, it is proven that the nutrients that we ingest directly from food are absorbed more quickly than most of those that we consume in supplement form.
Although they contain nutrients that we usually ingest from our diet, supplements can be accompanied by specific side effects. If they are ingested excessively, for example, in the case of zinc, high doses can cause vomiting, nausea, as well as specific allergic reactions. At the same time, too much vitamin A can damage the liver or cause headaches. Those are only a few examples.
Negative interactions with medications
Supplements can also cause the medicine to be less effective. However, it should be noted that this is not common. You should always consult our doctor before including any supplement in your diet, especially if you are undergoing any treatment.
Because dietary supplements are not regulated in the same way as medications, you can find poor-quality supplements that, while they may not work, may also be accompanied by undesirable side effects. It is recommended to resort to the supplements of a reliable laboratory and avoid those that promise miracles or unrealistic effects since it may be deception.
Unfortunately, not all supplements have the same quality as mentioned above. That means that many times the product may not be what we expected, or it is not sufficient because it does not contain the amount of the active ingredients necessary to act on the body. So it is always recommended to review the content of the active ingredient in the supplement before purchasing.
Advantages of consuming dietary supplements
Despite its disadvantages, we cannot forget that supplements can be a good alternative if used responsibly and with knowledge.
They help balance poor nutrition: If our diet is not sufficient or varied, there may be some nutritional deficiencies, so in these cases, supplements are an ideal alternative to improve our nutrition. However, it is always recommended to try to make changes healthy in the diet.
Beneficial for general health
Although not all supplements are recommended for different conditions, there are some such as folic acid. Its consumption does not have any side effects and can be ingested regularly. It also helps in the prevention of certain types of anemias and birth defects. In the case of pregnant women, many health professionals recommend that any woman of childbearing age and the possibility of pregnancy take supplementation with base folic acid.
Prevention of diseases
Some supplements can be useful to prevent the development of certain conditions. For example, in the case of iron, it can be used in people whose iron needs are increased, as in the case of pregnant women, to prevent the development of anemia. However, other diseases can also be prevented with the proper consumption of supplements. For example, some vitamins with antioxidant properties can also be used to avoid the appearance of eye diseases. Supplements are often recommended to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Recommendations when taking food supplements
Responsible consumption of food supplements can be very beneficial for our body. For this, it is essential to follow some recommendations before including a supplement in our diet.
- Always consult your doctor beforehand before using any supplement.
- Do not use supplements as substitutes for medications, especially without consulting your doctor
- Check product labels
- Try to choose reliable laboratory supplements
- Do not abuse its consumption, although the adequate dose is usually safe, supplements, when consumed in excess, can cause various problems to our health depending on the case
- Do not take supplements that do not indicate their content
- Inform yourself about the side effects that the consumption of the supplement you have chosen can cause
- Follow the indications of the product and your doctor
In some cases, supplementation is needed, as with vitamin D3, because it is almost non-existent in food and can have a very positive effect. Vegetarians have a deficiency of vitamin B12 because it is found in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, or poultry, and they do not consume these foods and need to be supplemented by supplementation. In cases where it is necessary to take a supplement, it must be properly dosed.
If you are a supplement user or plan to use them, be careful when choosing them because how good it can be is so dangerous.