Dietary Supplements: Which One You Should Take

Dietary supplements are food grade substances you might use to add vital nutrients to diet or to lower risk of health problems, like osteoporosis or arthritis etc. Dietary supplements come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, soft gel capsule, natural extracts, or liquids depends its availability. They might contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs or other plant extract, or enzymes. Sometimes, the ingredients in dietary supplements are added to foods, including drinks. A doctor’s prescription is not needed to buy dietary supplements except mentioned food for special dietary use.

Need of Supplementation!

Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get the nutrients a person need. However, some people don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from their daily diet, and their doctors may recommend a supplement. The purpose is giving to provide nutrients that might be missing from daily diet.
Vitamin supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet and if you do take them make sure you do not exceed your daily requirement. Choosing a good health supplement should be an informed and wise decision.
The principle cases and phases of life where individuals may need to really enhance is when nourishment alone is just insufficient to meet a person's supplement needs, and supplementation gets necessary to that person’s wellbeing. Some examples include:
  • People on a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, might lack vital nutrents.
  • Elderly people who may be eating poorly and/or absorbing less from their food.
  • People with an allergy or intolerance such as lactose intolerance
  • Autoimmune disease e.g. Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis or coeliac disease -- supplementation may be required at some stage to correct any nutrient deficiencies.
  • People who did not receive enough sunlight (e.g. bed bound, elderly, covered/veiled women and men).
  • Following a course of antibiotics -- probiotics may be beneficial in restoring gut health after a round of antibiotic treatment.
  • People with specific hormonal imbalances such as PCOS.
  • Those trying to conceive and pregnant women (one month prior to conception and three months after) -- folate has been shown to reduce risk of neural tube defects.
People over age 50 may need more of some vitamins and minerals than younger adults do. The Health professional may suggests adding or improving the diet of those people by taking care of below listed nutrients:

· Calcium.

Calcium works with vitamin D to keep bones strong at all ages and required for all age groups. Bone loss can lead to fractures in both older women and men. Calcium is found in milk and milk products (fat-free or low-fat is best), canned fish with soft bones, dark-green leafy vegetables like kale, and foods with calcium added, like breakfast cereals.

· Vitamin D.

Most people’s bodies make enough vitamin D if they are in the sun for 15 to 30 minutes at least twice a week. But, if you are older, you may not be able to get enough vitamin D that way. Try adding vitamin D-fortified milk and milk products, vitamin D-fortified cereals, and fatty fish to your diet, and/or use a vitamin D supplement.

· Vitamin B6.

This vitamin is needed to form red blood cells. It is found in potatoes, bananas, chicken breasts, and fortified cereals.

· Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 helps keep your red blood cells and nerves healthy. While older adults need just as much vitamin B12 as other adults, some have trouble absorbing the vitamin naturally found in food. If you have this problem, your doctor may recommend that you eat foods like fortified cereals that have this vitamin added, or use a B12 supplement.
food for special dietary requirements

Antioxidants: Part of Dietary Supplements

These are natural substances in food that might help protect from some diseases. The main principles of antioxidants are they trap the free radicals produced in the body that may leads to severe gene borne disease if not removed. Here are some common sources of antioxidants that should be sure to include in diet:




Fruits and vegetables that are either dark green or dark orange


Seafood, liver, meat, and grains

Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, and berries

Vitamin E

Wheat germ, nuts, sesame seeds, and canola, olive, and peanut oils
Right now, research results suggest that large doses of supplements with antioxidants will not prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. In fact, some studies have shown that taking large doses of some antioxidants could be harmful. Again, it is best to check with your doctor before taking a dietary supplement.

Herbal Supplements!

Herbal supplements are dietary supplements that come from plants. They are completely derived from plants or sometimes as a plant. Herbal health products and supplements have become a billion-dollar industry. An herb, or botanical, is a plant or part of a plant that people use to try to stay healthy, or to treat health conditions and illnesses. An herbal health product or supplement (also called a botanical product) is a type of dietary supplement that contains one or more herbs.
These supplements can have strong effects on the body but are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are available in many forms, including in tea bags, capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders.

Are Dietary Supplements Safe?

The dietary Supplements are safe if they are used wisely and under the supervision of healthcare professional.
In INDIA, the dietary supplements are regulated by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). FSSAI has several manufacturing and packaging guidelines defined in Food Safety Act 2006.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) checks prescription medicines, such as antibiotics or blood pressure medicines, to make sure they are safe and do what they promise. The same is true for over-the-counter drugs like pain and cold medicines.
The FDA does not have authority over dietary supplements in the same way it does prescription medicines. The Federal Government does not regularly test what is in dietary supplements, and companies are not required to share information on the safety of a dietary supplement with the FDA before they sell it. The companies are responsible for making sure the supplement is safe, but the FDA does not evaluate the safety of the product before the supplement is sold. So, just because you see a dietary supplement on a store shelf does not mean it is safe, that it does what the label says it will, or that it contains what the label says it contains.
If the FDA receives reports of possible problems with a supplement, it will issue warnings about products that are clearly unsafe. The FDA may also take these supplements off the market. The Federal Trade Commission looks into reports of ads that might misrepresent what dietary supplements do. A few private groups, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International,, and the Natural Products Association, have their own “seals of approval” for dietary supplements. To get such a seal, products must be made by following good manufacturing procedures, must contain what is listed on the label, and must not have harmful levels of ingredients that don’t belong there, like lead.
Source & Credit: National Institue of Health

What’s best for me?

If you are thinking about using dietary supplements:
· Just because something is said to be “natural” doesn’t mean it is safe or good for you. It could have side effects. It might make a medicine your doctor prescribed for you either weaker or stronger. It could also be harmful to you if you have certain medical conditions.
· Ask Healthcare Professional

He or she needs to know if you decide to use a dietary supplement. Do not diagnose or treat any health condition without first consulting with your doctor. 
· Buy wisely.
Choose brands that your doctor, dietitian, or pharmacist recommend. Don’t buy dietary supplements with ingredients you don’t need. Don’t assume that more is better. It is possible to waste money on unneeded supplements.
· Check the Claim and Its authenticity.
Make sure any claim about a dietary supplement is based on scientific proof. The company making the dietary supplement should be able to send you information on the safety and/or effectiveness of the ingredients in a product, which you can then discuss with Healthcare Professional. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A few key things to consider when purchasing supplements:

  • Start out with the low dosage recommendation first and increase as required.
  • Look for supplements without added fillers, colours or unnecessary ingredients.
  • Think of supplementation as an investment to your health and always choose quality. Try not to choose a product for its logo, price or marketing.
  • Ensure you continue to eat real food.

The five supplements that health experts actually use & recommend:

1. Fish oil

Fish oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We cannot produce these in our bodies so it is essential that we receive them through our diet or supplementation, Ensure that you choose a supplement with a high concentration of EPA and DHA, and one that has purity and sustainability certifications.
"There is solid evidence to show that omega 3 fatty acids are necessary for a healthy heart and brain, and play a role in reducing inflammation throughout the body."
Cod liver oil tablets, which are high in Vitamin D and A, are very much helpful in getting the essential nutrients for vegans.

2. Pre & Probiotics

Pre and Probiotics are the very important dietary supplements used now a days, Probiotics are the microbial fauna found inside our gut. They are very helpful in the production of certain types of aminoacids and healthy digestion.
"There is mounting scientific evidence to show that the health of our gut directly affects our immune system. Taking a daily probiotic can be a simple way to help keep your gut healthy and your immune system strong,"
"Whether you take it as a capsule, drink or powder, the choice is yours. If you've taken a course of antibiotics, supplementing with probiotics will also be beneficial to your gut."
It's important to note that there are different types of strains of probiotics, have different benefits and functions.
Certain strains of probiotics support immunity, others digestion, and some even help to regulate weight and balance hormones.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for strong bones, muscular and overall health. It is required in almost every age group for proper development of bones.
Vitamin D Supplementation is available in Syrup, capsule (Soft Gelatin and Hard gelatin) and in powder form.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is an important nutrient which plays a role in hundreds of enzymatic bodily reactions, including metabolising food, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, and transmission of nerve impulses.
Magnesium is also great to take in the evening for a better night's sleep and managing stress levels.

5. Protein

Proteins are basic requirement of any individual. However the protein formulations are designed for special dietary cases, generally for normal health always use general or Balance Nutrition (BN) proteins. For special formulations always consult your healthcare professional.
When it comes to muscle gain and fat loss, protein is the king of nutrients. Protein has been proven to help weight loss by boosting metabolism and reducing hunger and appetite. Whey protein is ideal, however if you have issues with lactose intolerance, then plant-based proteins are still highly effective.
/Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is just for the information of General Health Supplements. Science Arena Does not claim any health benefits nor its authors in any form, all the data and information shown are based on the personal experience and reference health data taken from Health practitioner. [Not For Medicolegal Purpose]/

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