What Are Nutritional Supplements?
Some dietary supplements make bold health claims yet lack evidence to back them up. Be a smart consumer and verify whether any products you purchase feature the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified seal.
Supplements come in liquid, gel, or tablet form; tablets may also include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, or fatty acids for optimal supplementation.
Vitamins support the body for normal functions such as growth and development, lowering risk factors for specific illnesses or age-related conditions and increasing performance in physical and mental activities.
Dietary supplements can be an easy and efficient way to access vitamins not easily obtained through food alone, yet nutritional supplements should never replace a balanced diet. For example, calcium and vitamin D dietary supplements have been found to prevent bone loss. In contrast, a combination antioxidant/omega-3 fatty acid formula (known as the AREDS) has slowed vision loss in those suffering from age-related macular degeneration.
Various vitamin supplements are on the market today, each formulated and delivered differently. Your health goals will dictate which vitamins will best suit you; there is also a wide range of dosage options. Common choices among dietary supplements are multivitamins, fish oil pills, and soluble fiber mixes.
Nutritional supplements include products that contain isolated compounds derived from natural or synthetic sources or whole food sources; examples may include brewer’s yeast, spirulina (a form of seaweed), bee pollen and royal jelly from bees; colostrum from cows’ milk; shark cartilage from sharks and psyllium seed husks as nutritional supplements.
Some nutritional supplements are produced solely in a laboratory. This process typically entails chemical manipulations to copy the molecular structure of natural vitamins; for instance, synthetic versions of vitamin B1 start as yellow coal tar to which hydrochloric acid and other chemicals are added, then heated, cooled, and purified before being distributed onto shelves for sale.
Minerals are inorganic elements found in soil and water consumed by plants and animals. Our bodies require large amounts of certain minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and copper; other elements like iodine, iron, and zinc may only need to be consumed occasionally. According to the National Institutes of Health classification system, minerals may either be considered macrominerals (such as potassium chloride, calcium, phosphorus magnesium, etc.) or trace minerals – with macrominerals being those needed in larger quantities, such as potassium chloride, calcium phosphorus magnesium; while trace minerals (such as iron copper iodine manganese zinc).
Consuming a wide range of foods helps people obtain adequate levels of vitamins and minerals; however, dietary supplements are available to ensure all Americans get what they require for optimal health. In addition, the dietary supplement industry provides many multivitamins and single vitamin and mineral supplements – taking too many may be harmful, so always consult a medical provider before starting any supplement regimen.
Nutritional supplements may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, or amino acids. Furthermore, nutritional supplements may contain substances known to act as antioxidants which reduce damage caused by oxidation to cells – examples include beta-carotene, lycopene, and selenium as antioxidants that provide numerous health benefits when taken in small doses. While these nutrients aren’t essential, taking small quantities may greatly improve overall health.
Supplements are commonly sold in pill, powder, and liquid formats; however, they can also be found in foods rich in nutrition, such as brewer’s yeast, spirulina (sea algae), and royal jelly. Some products provide specific support for athletes – usually by providing electrolytes that replenish lost through vigorous exercise and vitamins and minerals to boost performance and recovery.
Herbs are plants used medicinally or therapeutically, like vitamins and minerals. Herbal medicines are considered dietary supplements; like their vitamin counterparts, herbal medicines may contain various ingredients with differing strengths or potencies. For example, herbs may come in tablets, capsules, extracts, teas, or fresh/dried forms.
Scientific evidence supports that certain herbs and herbal products could have health advantages, but more research must be completed before fully ascertaining their effect.
Certain herbs now produce pharmaceutical drugs, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all prescription drug chemicals. Aspirin (made from willow bark), codeine (derived from poppy seeds), and anticancer drug Paclitaxel (sourced from the Pacific Yew tree) and cold treatments such as Echinacea can all come from botanical sources; further research suggests ginseng and turmeric possess antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties.
Dietary supplements can be an integral component of an overall healthy lifestyle. For example, a top-quality multivitamin and mineral product should form the cornerstone of any supplement regimen, so speak to your physician or registered dietitian about what specific dietary supplements would be most helpful in your particular health situation.
Amino acids are key building blocks of proteins and are integral to many physiological processes, including protein synthesis, neurotransmitter function, and energy production. Nutritional supplements containing amino acids extracted from food or synthetically produced can provide energy production, while amino acid supplements may be taken alone or combined with vitamins, minerals, herbs, or enzymes; similar to other dietary products containing amino acids, they can be taken in tablets, gel capsules, powders or bars.
Foods provide ample nutrition, yet individual vitamins and minerals can have different impacts when taken individually as supplements. Research indicates that certain plant chemicals found in food may also provide benefits; nutritional supplements do not work in synergy with other compounds found in food and may not produce similar effects as their source food does; for this reason, it is wise to consume supplements in moderation within a healthy eating pattern.
Diet is integral to overall health and should be prioritized when making nutritional supplement decisions. No dietary supplement should replace leading an active and healthy lifestyle and practicing good sleep hygiene. Some dietary supplements can cause adverse side effects, including stomach upset and allergic reactions. People with preexisting health conditions should seek the advice of their naturopathic physician or nutritionist before beginning any new nutritional product. For optimal and safe nutritional supplement use, it is advised to slowly increase the dosage over time until it reaches manufacturer-recommended amounts. Furthermore, multiple nutritional supplements that stimulate your body at once could lead to unfavorable interactions, which could have dangerous and unwanted effects on health.
Nutraceuticals serve as the link between food and medicine. Formulated in small batches by companies prioritizing quality control and customer service, nutraceuticals are distributed only by doctors who have taken the time to educate their patients about their benefits.
Many individuals rely on supplements to meet their dietary needs. When our bodies are under strain due to illness or injury, or when working out often, extra vitamins and minerals may be required to meet those demands on the body. Failing to obtain enough essential vitamins can lead to chronic disease and discomfort.
Dietary supplements are generally composed of multiple vitamins, minerals, herbs, or amino acids and taken either orally or through fortified food sources, such as milk with added vitamin D. Although the FDA regulates them similarly to pharmaceutical medications, their approval does not come directly from them. Rather they verify manufacturers meet manufacturing and labeling requirements.
Some dietary supplements can have an important impact on disease prevention and treatment. For instance, certain nutraceuticals reduce cholesterol by modulating its production (monacolin, policosanol, and red yeast rice), binding it in the intestines with Berberina (berberine), binding it with LDL receptor uptake in the liver with Phytosterols or even by decreasing Triglycerides levels with Guggul (Guggul). They have also been shown to positively impact chronic diseases like coronary Heart Disease Hypertension Thrombosis with positive influences like coronary Heart Disease Hypertension Thrombosis as well as replace certain drugs like statins with anti-inflammatory properties used against digestive problems or to improve sleep.