We are supposed to get all essential nutrients from the healthy foods we consume. Unluckily, most people consume about half of daily enough essential nutrients. Hence, they do not meet their everyday essential vitamins and minerals requirements. The main reason is that we consume more processed food instead of having a healthy diet. You can choose supplements according to your needs.
For example: hair growth supplements.
Moreover, consuming real foods more frequently is better than their processed alternatives, although most of them are becoming less nutritious than before. Farming on depleted soils, increasing time from harvest to consumption, and poor farming and fertilization methods are some of the main reasons behind this loss of nutrition.
Taking dietary supplements is one of the ways to ensure we receive all the nutrients necessary for good health. However, the big questions remain. How do you know which supplement to take? Moreover, how will you identify the best supplement particular to your needs? With numerous products available on the market, buying the best supplement can be confusing, especially for beginners. Improper vitamin intake leads to poor health. Some side effects of vitamin deficiency are brittle nails and hair, weak bones, joint pain, and chronic fatigue.
The right supplements enhance health, boost immunity and energy, and have other benefits. A supplement may be available in different forms, including capsules, powder, liquids, etc. You can buy these in the form of herbs, oily fish, vitamins, and minerals like calcium. However, not everyone should take dietary supplements. Some reasons why people take vitamins include age, medical conditions, food allergies, the kind of diet they consume, and pregnancy.
Although whole foods are the best way of getting minerals and vitamins, our dietary habits dictate the use of multivitamins as a safe way to boost your health and improve your immune function.
Do You Require a Supplement?
Vitamins and minerals supplements aren’t necessary for everyone, more so for healthy people with sufficient nutrient intake. Furthermore, getting these basic nutrients from your diet is even better. A healthcare professional will only recommend taking supplements under certain circumstances. These include: –
- Kids or adults diagnosed with nutritional deficiencies.
- Ladies that are breastfeeding or pregnant women.
- Partially or exclusively breastfed infants.
- Individuals with conditions that cause less nutrient absorption.
- People who have undergone gastric surgery.
- Some vegetarians, vegans, and those allergic to dairy products.
- Kids or adults without access to whole foods.
Some common nutrient deficiencies include vitamin D, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Vitamin D supplements is the hardest to get from your food alone. One of the main sources of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight, but sunlight is also unavailable in most parts of the world. Some risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are wearing sunscreen, living away from the equator, having darker skin, and staying indoors. Moreover, older adults aren’t effective at vitamin D synthesis because of the biological changes in their skin.
Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency. Expecting mothers have more iron requirements than others, and their diet may not be a good source. All doctors advise pregnant women to consume folic acid to give them an additional safety cushion. Iron and vitamin D are essential for developing the fetus and for growing kids and infants.
Some health and genetic conditions may make it hard to absorb some nutrients. The conditions include
- Inflammatory bowel ailments, including ulcerative colitis.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Celiac diseases.
- Alcohol dependence.
- Liver diseases.
- Autoimmune diseases, including pernicious anemia.
- Prostate cancer.
- Genetic mutations.
If you are worried about getting insufficient nutrients from your food, inform your physician. They will recommend the kind and dose of the supplement your body requires.
It’s best to seek medical advice if you are certain your diet lacks some minerals and vitamins. A doctor will run minor tests to confirm your vitamin and mineral deficiency. Moreover, seeking medical advice is all the more important if you have the following symptoms.
- Hair loss.
- Intense tiredness.
- Slow-healing wounds.
- Joint or bone pain.
- Sight issues.
- Irregular heartbeat.
Some major nutrient deficiencies most people suffer from include B vitamins, C, D, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Medical professionals do not regulate dietary supplements. For this reason, they are available over the counter and don’t need a prescription. Before you start consuming concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals in supplement form, there are safety concerns you should know about.
Toxic in Large Quantities
Taking minerals and vitamins through supplements instead of food poses the possibility of overdose, which may be toxic. Most vitamins and mineral supplements have a tolerable upper intake level. This is the highest level reached after consuming a supplement, and it’s unlikely to cause any negative side effects. There are several more supplements you can try such as HGH supplements. However, an excess intake may cause the vitamin or mineral to cross this level leading to side effects like nausea and bleeding. The upper level for minerals and vitamin supplements varies depending on gender and age. Furthermore, there are different upper-level recommendations for breastfeeding or pregnant ladies.
Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin E, are more dangerous when taken in excess as the body stores them. Consuming more than enough vitamin D, E, and A can be toxic and cause side effects such as irregular heartbeat, hemorrhages, heart disease, organ damage, and hemorrhagic stroke. In extreme cases, it can even lead to a coma or death.
Water-soluble vitamins don’t stay in the human body. Therefore, intake beyond the recommended dosage is less likely to create toxicity in the body. However, taking large doses of these water-soluble vitamins can still lead to liver damage, digestive issues, and sometimes irreversible neurological damage. Suffice to stay that you should not exceed the upper limit of minerals and vitamin supplements unless under professional medical supervision.
Unlike adults, kids have lower tolerable upper intake levels. Thus, it is wise to keep supplements away from children’s reach. Some are particularly attractive to children because of their sweet flavor and candy-like appearance.
Interactions With Other Medicines
You should consult your doctor before taking supplements if you’re on prescription drugs. Ingredients making up these supplements include herbs, minerals, vitamins, and other botanical elements. The ingredients in these supplements can have adverse effects if combined with other medications, foods, alcohol, or certain other supplements. Vitamin E supplements react negatively with blood-thinning medicines. Similarly, calcium supplements limit the efficiency of antibiotics and decrease iron absorption.
Moreover, some supplements affect the accuracy of lab results. For instance, any B vitamin supplement, especially vitamin B7 (biotin), lowers troponin-based lab outcomes that help diagnose a heart attack. In addition, supplements made from herbs and other plant compounds can interact with other medications.
Since there are fewer or no regulations on dietary supplements, there’s a higher likelihood that a product does not contain the same ingredients or the same quantity of ingredients advertised by the manufacturer. This makes the supplement dangerous for people who depend on it for basic nutrient requirements. Moreover, such products are also a waste of your money. Moreover, unless proven through research, no supplement can treat, cure or decrease the danger of certain conditions or diseases. A supplement should contain functional or structural claims, which explain how ingredients in their product may affect organs or systems in your body.
Negative Side Effects
Some supplements have negative side effects even when you take the correct dose. Some side effects are mild, including nausea, headaches, diarrhea, etc. For instance, iron supplements cause digestive distress. However, ingredients in some other supplements, mostly herbs, have serious side effects. This includes allergic reactions, irregular or higher heartbeat, and increased blood pressure.
Higher doses of vitamin A increase the chances of having lung cancer, more so if you smoke. Moreover, taking vitamin A when as retinol during pregnancy increases the chances of birth defects. Higher Vitamin B12 leads to anxiety, headaches, dizziness, etc.
Excess antioxidants may affect some cancer treatments, and extra Vitamin D leads to calcium buildup. Calcium buildup may lead to kidney stones.
Research on Supplements
Some dietary supplements help in improve our body’s health. For instance, vitamin D and calcium help lower bone fractures and loss. Moreover, it also protects against diabetes and cancer. Calcium is also important for muscles, heart health, brain function, and nerve and blood cells. Calcium deficiency may lead to having weak, brittle bones and increases the danger of having joint fractures and pains. However, some herbal ingredients don’t have solid evidence for their health claims. There are Turmeric supplements available for health benefits that turmeric provides like antiseptic qualities.
Research on animal shows that fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acid) helps promote heart health, lowers chronic inflammation, and helps in improving blood flow. However, this isn’t clear in humans though it helps ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms when a patient takes other RA medicine. In addition, it also helps in lowering the patient’s triglycerides when consumed as prescribed.
Supplements with a mixture of omega-3 fatty acid, zinc, and antioxidants slow down ARED (age-related eye disease). Folic acid helps in preventing neural tube defects in kids. Vitamin B6 is important for brain development in growing kids. Moreover, Vitamin B12 helps in red blood cell formation and assists in keeping blood cells healthy and fighting inflammation.
Magnesium helps digestion, sleep, bone health, and cardiac and mental health. Magnesium deficiency can cause serious health problems, including osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney damage.
Iron is the main element in hemoglobin that transports oxygen to different organs and tissues. Iron deficiency leads to anemia, and its symptoms and signs include pale eyes, skin, and nails, fatigue, and headaches. Iodine helps in growth, metabolism, and development since it’s an important part of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency can cause mental challenges, goiters, and hypothyroidism.
Tips on Storage and Use of Dietary Supplements
Always consult a doctor before starting a dietary supplement course. Some other tips include:
- Stick to the given daily value unless stated otherwise by your doctor.
- Purchase from brands with NSF, USP, or any other seal of approval.
- Several multivitamins don’t have 100% daily value for magnesium and calcium. You may need to buy a different or additional product.
- Always keep the product away from sunlight, moisture, and heat. Instead, keep it in a cool and dry place. Moreover, keep them away from children.
Moreover, your health care provider will determine the right nutrients and dosage you require. Always ensure that you take top quality and safe products. Buy products that are approved and have undergone testing by a third-party lab.
These supplements help in supporting your dietary needs and overall health. Thus, you must follow a healthy lifestyle to get maximum benefit by eating healthy, working out, and avoiding stress.
Varieties of Supplements
As said earlier, dietary supplements are available in capsules, tinctures, powder, or liquid form. These nutritional supplements are available at various online stores and reliable health stores. Some of the popular nutritional supplement to choose from include:
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and offers various mental and physiological benefits. The easiest method of having a concentrated omega-3 in your diet is taking a fish oil capsule or tablet.
This is an essential kind of micronutrient. Our bodies need minerals for our critical body functions. These include fluid balance, growth, and bone health. The mineral consists of calcium, zinc, magnesium, etc. A good balance of minerals in your body means you will have a stronger immune system.
These are other essential micronutrients that your body requires to be healthy and function properly. Vitamins are categorized as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Consuming a high potency multivitamin means your body will get all the important nutrients to improve several metabolic reactions and gut health.
This contains a mixture of the best nutrients. Always check on its composition when choosing these supplements.
Proteins are suitable for sports and fitness lovers. Moreover, protein helps in muscle development and recovery. Furthermore, it’s available in powder form. Taking protein powder supplements helps ensure a continuous release of amino acids, which helps in weight management and lean muscle gain.
These supplements include green teas and other ingredients like turmeric, some mushroom varieties, garlic, etc. you can also have greens powder containing herbal and vegetable supplements which offers better bioavailability. Herbal supplements have medicinal benefits and help heal joint health and stop blood clotting.
Weight Management Supplements
These supplements help speed up fat loss by easing your appetite, decreasing the absorption of some micronutrients, immune system, and improving caloric burn.
Choosing the Best Supplements
When looking for the best quality supplement, you must research before deciding which to purchase. First, you need to visit a doctor to help you determine the best and safe supplement for your body. Moreover, the doctor can recommend some best brands which you were not aware of. To get the best quality product that will offer you value for your money, below are a few things you should consider.
Check the label to verify if the manufacturing process was at the GMP-inspected facility. This means the product was tested and inspected at different stages, and the manufacturing process took place in a quality-controlled environment.
One can also check out the National Science Foundation or USP mark. This is the body that oversees GMPs and grants authorization. Also, check the Certificate of Analysis, Banned Substances Control Group and ConsumerLab labels.
Third-party lab test labels are also important. This shows that an independent party for potency and safety tests a product. Moreover, a supplement certified by an independent third-party company explains the following.
- The product has all the ingredients on the package and in the right amounts.
- The product is free of chemicals or any other contaminants
- Products are consistent from one batch to the other
- The product is free from any undeclared ingredients
- For athletes, check for products that are NSF approved for Sport. The certification guarantees that the supplement is free from all the substances prohibited or banned by sports organizations.
Check the Ingredients
Always check on ingredients used in a supplement before you buy. If there is an ingredient list that you don’t know or understand, do some research to ensure it is not a filler. Low-quality supplements will have additives that may block one’s body from properly absorbing the active ingredient. Moreover, you can check supplement quality by checking ‘free from” details. A quality supplement must be free from gluten, lactose, wheat, eggs, soy, tree nuts, shellfish, peanuts, artificial colorings, artificial preservatives, and GMOs.
The supplement labels should display every ingredient, both inactive and active. You must avoid products from manufacturers who hide ingredients in their blends.
This refers to nutrients amount which one’s body is capable of absorbing. There are several various kinds of nutrients where some are easier to absorb, unlike others. For instance, one can access magnesium in several forms, including magnesium chloride, sulfate, etc. Some of these forms are easy to absorb though they have distinct benefits.
Selecting a supplement that offers the appropriate dose for you is vital. The correct dosage should offer a fine balance between over-supplementing and getting enough. Having more than a necessary supplement nutrient can lead to some side effects. For instance, excess vitamin D leads to a condition known as vitamin D toxicity.
Some of the supplements are expensive. Thus, go for a supplement with a price that suits your budget. Moreover, there is a trade-off between the quality and cost of a supplement. Therefore, you should balance both. Remember, you should take the supplements as recommended to be worthwhile. You can set the alarm or any other way to remind yourself when it’s time to take them.
Recommendations and Reputation
Check user’s reviews and have some research to check the potential benefits the supplement offers before purchase. Moreover, go for brands that have been in the industry for a while since it understands what customers require.
What Determines Which Nutrient You Need
The food one consumes is important in determining which nutrients one should consume as a supplement to improve their health conditions. Moreover, it also helps in determining the amount you should take. Other drinks and foods you consume may enable or prohibit the absorption of different vitamins. If you’re a coffee or tea lover, you should consume more iron. Moreover, even if you take more vitamin D and are deficient in magnesium, your body will not absorb it well.
For those who smoke tobacco, take alcohol, or who are regularly exposed to pollutants or toxins, their bodies may not absorb other nutrients efficiently. Thus, the only way to improve your health is by taking more antioxidant supplements. In addition, being under intense stress affects nutrient absorption from the food you consume. For instance, stress makes one’s body utilize more magnesium.
Our nutritional requirements and how our body processes nutrients vary as we age. There are hormonal changes and lifestyle changes that are linked to aging. This affects the supplements one should consume.
One’s specific medical conditions and digestive health affect how properly our bodies absorb vitamins. Moreover, some medications determine the supplements you should or can take. Besides, if you’re on a family planning medication or pregnant, you’ll need to consume more minerals and vitamins. If you have a medical condition, are under medications, or are pregnant, you need to talk with a professional health care professional about the appropriate supplement.
Suppose you are struggling with osteoporosis or weak bones; there are important vitamins to consider. Go for a supplement having Vitamin D since it helps in calcium absorption for Calcium supplements. Moreover, one can naturally get Vitamin D by consuming fatty fish or sun exposure, although they aren’t enough. Vitamin K also helps in strengthening the bone, and it’s naturally available in leafy green vegetables. You must be careful if taking blood thinners and supplements with vitamin K since they can trigger a negative interaction.
Vitamin B12 assists your body in converting food into energy. It’s naturally available in several animal proteins. However, despite consuming animal products, several people still struggle with the deficiency. Older adults and vegans are at greater risk of having B12 lack. Moreover, those having anemia or low energy production should consider using iron supplements. Other supplements you can check out include tyrosine.
When having unhealthy skin, a skincare routine isn’t always the problem. At times, you may be lacking some supplements and vitamins. Both vitamin C and A are important for having healthy skin. Therefore, ensure you choose a supplement with these vitamins. Vitamin A offers protection against sunburn while vitamin C supports skin elasticity. To heal your skin after having an injury, you need zinc. Moreover, it will keep your cell walls strong as it helps in UV protection.
Your health lineage speaks a lot about the possible health risks inherited in your family. Thus, you should select your supplements considering those risks. Understanding your family’s health helps make an informed everyday wellness plan. Moreover, you will also be able to decide on the vitamin supplement appropriate for you to take.
The FDA doesn’t evaluate any supplements’ safety, effectiveness, or quality. In addition, they don’t verify the ingredients used. Thus, there is no assurance that a product has or does what it claims to. A product may have different amounts of elements from batch to batch.
However, FDA requires manufacturers of this supplement to follow the Current Good Manufacturing Practices. This gives an assurance of the safety and quality of the supplement through compliance isn’t always enforced. The only best way to be assured of the quality of a product is by approval of a third-party company.
Is there a Distinction Between Daily Value and RDA?
On several supplement labels, you will see an acronym DV, which is a short form for Daily Value. This denotes the number of nutrients the supplement offers regarding its total daily diet. RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is the number of specific nutrients you need daily depending on your gender, age, and if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. At other times the Daily Value of a supplement is higher than RDA for some people. Always check with the doctor to be sure your supplement doesn’t have too much of a nutrient.
Conclusion: What Supplements Should I Take?
Like every other product, supplements also come in different qualities. Supplements from different brands flooded the market; hence determining the best quality product becomes an issue. Other supplement you might be interested in are joint supplements. Moreover, you need to check on ingredients, bioavailability, dosage, cost, etc. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mums should avoid taking herbal supplements unless recommended by a medical provider. To stay healthy they should be guided by a registered dietitian. Always do some research on brand reputation so that you can make the most informed choice.