Modern lifestyle and convenient living made life more comfortable. Modern living hosts certain complications associated with physical as well as mental wellness in humans. Busy schedules and changes in eating patterns are filling tummies neglecting the “essentials” needed for body. 

Balanced diet contains different foods to fulfill the complete nutritional requirements. Balanced diet provides calories for supporting the body’s energy needs along with bio active phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates and fats satisfy the body’s calorie demands while minerals and vitamins are needed for complete wellness and to maintain health of individual. 

Vitamins and minerals are combinedly considered as micronutrients. Vitamins are essential for their concerned roles in blood clotting, immune responses etc while minerals are needed for maintaining the bone health, physical growth and several other processes. 

What are supplements up for? 

With growing modernization, concept of balanced diet is being forgotten and malnourishment is a burning problem worldwide. 

Deprived or diminished micronutrients in the diet leads to severe health issues. Micro hunger or Hidden hunger is the condition where individuals are deprived of essential micronutrients. The term “Hidden hunger” because it is not the physical hunger of stomach but that is experienced by the body with respect to nutrients. 

In developing countries, people below poverty line are at greater risk of malnutrition. The obvious consequences are stunted growth, low learning capacity and high mortality risks in children. Even adults face health risks like osteoporosis, pregnancy complications and general malaise. 

Malnutrition is a burning problem among poverty ridden children questioning the destiny of generation itself. Providing healthy diet and supplementing nutrients for balancing the missed essentials is the only existing mitigative measure to fight against it. 

During the good olden times people relied directly on natural foods, so a meal platter always stayed healthy. Modern days started witnessing more processed foods replacing the natural ingredients with preservatives. 

Food processing allows exposure to high heat and light leading to moisture removal. This results in loss or alteration in nutrient content. The main concern associated with micro-nutrients is their “form” that is available for the body. Technically understood as “Bio availability”

Active form of micro nutrients is more desirable than their sole chemical presence which can impact the active absorption from gut. For example, water soluble vitamins (B and C) are more vulnerable to lose their stability after the food is heat processed. Canned foods are heat processed and water-soluble vitamins are temperature sensitive, so they lose their stability. This is only an example of “losing essentials” from diet. Smoking and alcohol consumption reduces the bio absorption of vitamin B, C, minerals and antioxidants from diet. Though the diet includes a plentiful of nutrients, the life style and habits make them unavailable for the gut and body absorption. 

With all these concerns hidden hunger started growing as a major health issue on today’s health globe. General deviations from balanced diet cause deficiencies in vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K, minerals like iodine, calcium, iron and folate. 

Who needs supplements? 

Relying on supplements has become an easy option nowadays. Supplemental food is bridging the gap laid between food intake and that is required for the body. Any extra food that can fill the deficiencies of nutrition is called the supplemental food. 

Supplements are meant for “supplementing” the original diet where an individual need extra nutrient to satisfy the body needs. 

For example, pregnant woman needs extra folic acid for the neurological wellness of developing baby. Folic acid is a B group vitamin and its deficiencies during pregnancy can cause Spinal bifida. Relying on diet for folic acid needs of mother as well as growing baby do not meet the requirements. So medical practitioners advise folic acid pills for a short period. And studies too have proved that folates are better absorbed from supplements than those taken from diet. 

People with risk for osteoporosis are prescribed with vitamin D and calcium supplements with slight changes in the diet. 

People who have undergone a recent weight loss surgery are not under complete diet and are suggested with the supplement pills to satisfy the body requirements of vitamin A, D E, K and B vitamins. 

In Chronic Food allergies, people face problem of being allergic to certain foods and are restricted for specific foods. In such cases, medical practitioners advise supplements to avoid any upcoming deficiency health issues. 

Lactose intolerance has become a common health issue among adults and they cannot digest lactose from dairy based products. However, restricting entire dairy based dietaries can lead to future complications of Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. Supplements perform well in such cases and satisfy the micro nutrient needs. 

Some people diagnosed with severe gut malabsorption problems like cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, coeliac disease, chronic diarrhea experience rapid loss of essential nutrients from diet. Similar is the problem in people with recent digestive tract surgeries experiencing problems in nutrient absorption. 

Vegan people with greater risk to heart diseases are advised with omega 3-fatty acids since their cultural practices avoids them from taking seafood. 

Myths and truths about supplements 

During recent times depending on supplements became ultra-common and people started forgetting the balanced diet and started depending on supplements. 

Some people believe extra dose of vitamins and minerals make them stronger. The belief that supplements avoid stress and tiredness is also common among people. However, both the beliefs are only myth and the underlying truth is that supplements make individuals healthier by avoiding certain complications associated with deficiencies. 

Neglecting the balanced diet and depending on supplements is obviously a foolish act since nothing can replace the effectiveness of balanced diet. 

For example, a person who avoids fruits and vegetables can supplement vitamin A and C via pills. The vitamin needs may be satisfied but the fiber and antioxidant demand of body remain under nourished. Fiber content in the diet helps preventing some health ailments like diabetes, heart diseases and constipation. Antioxidants in natural diet slows down ageing by preventing cell damage. 

Another point of concern in this context is that vitamin A in fruits and green leafy vegetables is accompanied by hundreds of carotenoid related compounds that are required for well being of life processes. Taking supplements may concentrate the dose of particular vitamin but cannot provide their related chemicals. 

So, a healthy individual relying on supplements avoiding the balanced diet without any reasonable necessity for supplements is definitely inviting health complications over a long-term basis. 

Choosing supplements depending on the need and age factor is a helpful choice. 

Be cautious before you opt! 

Seeking medical advice before opting for supplements is a much-needed step nowadays. 

Some supplements are harmful when taken in combinations. If the subject is suffering with any chronic disorder and is already under medication, seeking medical expert advice is necessary step before choosing supplements. 

Above all supplements are only “Supplemental” doses and not “miracle cures”. They are harmful posing fatal side effects when taken in large doses. 

Fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K have least chances of expelling from body. When taken in extra doses, they are stored in body and are toxic. 

Excess of vitamin C in body can cause nausea and sometimes lead to kidney stone formation. 

Trace minerals like zinc, selenium and iron cause fatal issues if the levels cross recommendable lines in the body. 

Taking supplements with the advice of medical practitioner is good option but neglecting balanced diet and relying on supplements is definitely a snake in grass since it opens door for health ailments. 

After all nothing can replace the efficiency of balanced diet. 
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/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./

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