Dietary supplements have many purposes, from helping with dieting to treating medical issues. Supplements come in a wide variety of forms, including powders, gel tabs, pills, liquids and extracts. Examples of dietary supplements include minerals, multivitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and probiotics. There are also natural and herbal supplements like folic acid, fish oil and gingko. While they may be prescribed to treat problems like nutrient deficiencies, dietary supplements may also be purchased over the counter. Supplements can be private label supplements or custom supplements, depending on the company who made them and whether they marketed the supplements themselves. Taking supplements as part of a weight loss plan or for overall health has become something of a fad due to the many benefits imparted by them. Here are three ways supplements can positively affect you.
1. Adding Needed Nutrients
One of the main reasons people take supplements is to add needed nutrients to a diet. As mentioned earlier, doctors may prescribe supplements for nutrient deficiencies; these deficiencies may be caused by other existing health problems or by poor diet choices. Deficiencies in substances like calcium may lead to other health issues like brittle bones, so addressing them is important.
2. Lowering Health Risks
It is believed that some supplements can reduce the risk of contracting cancer and other sicknesses and extend lifespan. While research showing that supplements can increase lifespan are not conclusive enough to prove that they can, it has been proven that taking multivitamins can decrease the risk of getting cancer by eight percent. Some supplements have positive side effects like increasing “good cholesterol” levels (vitamin B3) and reducing the possibility of birth defects (folic acid).
3. Aiding Weight Loss
Supplements are also utilized for weight loss. Weight loss supplements usually come in the form of pills, drinks and powders specially designed for weight loss like caffeine pills. However, some natural supplements like African mango seed extract are also used for weight loss purposes. While dietary supplements will not replace eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, they can aid in weight loss. Supplements like fiber can lower hunger pangs and help dieters eat less in general. Others might slightly boost metabolism. However, weight loss supplements cannot by themselves cause instantaneous weight loss; the supplement taker must put in the work to lose weight.
While dietary supplements certainly have their benefits, there exists a risk as well. Taking excessive amounts of supplements may result in negative side effects; for example, overdosing on vitamin A can cause toxicity in the body. Supplements may also reduce the effectiveness of medications like antibiotics; they may even interact with them in such a way as to create negative side effects. If you have existing conditions, your body might react badly to some supplements. Therefore, it is important for those currently on medications and those with existing health conditions to consult medical professionals before starting a supplement. In many cases, simply altering your diet may be healthier than consuming supplements. It is also important not to take more than the recommended dosage of any supplement. Supplements are both beneficial and risky, so be cautious when using them.