Nutritional Supplements Guide: Know Why You Need Supplements

Nutritional supplements are consumable health products that have one or more nutrients and ingredients found in the normal food.

People ask if they should take them. My answer is, Yes!

According to the Natural Institute of Health, supplements can help you in getting enough quantities of essential nutrients. However they should never replace your daily diet, they only complement it.

Just think about our current hectic lifestyles;

We hardly consume the nutrients that our body needs.

Without even realizing it, this hectic lifestyle introduces us to fast and junk foods.

These have a lot of sugar, fat and sodium, which can leads to a heart disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and other lifestyle diseases.

Nowadays even if you are so health conscious, you are set to fail due to factors beyond your control.

Nutritional Supplements

Causes of Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional deficiency is a state where your intake of nutrients is not enough for the normal functioning of the body. I have gathered real facts on several factors which causes a healthy diet not to provide sufficient nutrients.

1) Soil Depletion

In most parts of the world, soil has been depleted by overgrazing, over-farming
and environmental degradation. As a result, our soils are of low quality and it is
not easy to improve them. Thus the nutritional value is lost because our soil is depleted of essential nutrients.

2) Food Processing and Preservation
Food processing and preservation takes away essential nutrients. For instance, 80% magnesium and 70-80% zinc is lost when refining wheat to white flour. In the same manner, 99% magnesium is lost when refining sugar cane to white sugar. These are just a few examples.

Am convinced that these figures just speaks about how much we need to supplement our diet. Freshly harvested food has very high level of nutrients. But how often do we get them? You will agree with me, very rare!

3) Food Additives
Hundreds of artificial flavors, sweeteners, softeners and preservatives are added to most modern food. While some of these help in preserving the food, very few are harmless and many are toxic. Almost all of these food additives often deplete nutrients further.

Preservatives such as BHT and BHA are the worst that can be on your food. Aspartame-an artificial sweetener, and EDTA chelating agent remove vital nutrients from the surface of the foods they are applied on.

Other reasons include hurried lifestyles full of stress, poor eating habits and chemical toxins presents in the air and water that we take.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Supplements

The nutrients included in these products include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids among other substances. People supplement their diet for reasons relating to boosting their diets. The main reasons are:

  • To boost vitality
  • To limit or delay the signs of aging
  • To reduce susceptibility to health problems (like cold)
  • To prevent heart attack
  • To prevent cancer
  • To reduce stress

Therefore, the main reason why people take nutritional supplements is for general health and well being.

In other words, do not wait until a problem strikes; take responsibility and guard your heath!

Risks Associated with Nutritional Supplements

Many of these products have active ingredients that cause biological effects in our bodies. Thus they may be unsafe in certain situations, and they can complicate and hurt your health. When taken in the following manner, they can lead to dangerous and life threatening consequences;

  • Taking too much of them, like vitamin D, iron and vitamin A.
  • Taking a supplement instead of prescribed medicine.
  • Taking supplement products together with medication without your doctor’s advice.
  • Taking supplement products during and after surgery.

For these reasons, avoid taking more than the recommended amounts. Always seek the advice of your health care provider or pharmacist when you are in doubt.

The Safety of Nutritional Supplements

Supplement companies are not regulated by any government. Thus their products are not approved for safety before being marketed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews the safety of any new ingredient in a product before marketing. The effectiveness of the new ingredient is not assessed and hence it is not known.

It is the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure the safety of their products before selling them. They should ensure that their products are free from impurities and contaminants. They also ensure that minimum quality standards are met and that their products are labeled accurately.

These manufacturers should report any serious supplement effects or illness to FDA. FDA is responsible for withdrawing from the market any supplement that is unsafe, ineffective, and whose clams are false and misleading.

How can I Know More about the Supplement I am Taking?

You can find out more about supplement products you are taking by contacting the manufacturer or distributor. Their contact information should be available on the product label. You can seek more about;

  • The safety of the ingredients in the product and their effectiveness
  • Support information on the claims of the product
  • Reports on the use of the products such as adverse effects

What Should I do if I have a Reaction to a Supplement?

You should seek advice from a physician on what to do. Otherwise you might do more harm than good to your body.

Serious problems resulting from the use of any supplement should be reported, either by yourself or your doctor, to FDA. FDA would like information on any nutritional supplement that causes adverse effects or illnesses.

Choosing Nutritional Supplements

I will mention only the main facts here. For a detailed discussion go to how to choose nutritional supplements wisely.

Here is how to choose wisely;

  • Buy only from renown companies – search for the websites of respected companies.
  • Check whether the product has clear labeling. Look out for words like 'standardized' on the label.
  • Look for the 'certificate of analysis'. This confirms the purity of a product.
  • Watch out for false statements such as, 'can treat and cure all diseases', 'no side effects'.
  • Visit Health Fraud Scams to know the fraudulent nutritional products.

  • FDA’s Tainted Supplement lists some of the dangerous supplement products in the market.

And there is much more....!

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Choose Nutritional Supplements Wisely

Choose Nutritional Supplements Wisely


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