DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

Dietary supplement is a product which contains a vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid or another dietary substance to enhance the nutritional status of an individual.

It facilitates the addition of a metabolite, extract or a constituent of any of the above-mentioned ingredients.

It is deemed to be food approved by the food and drug administration however it is not considered as a drug.

Dietary supplements are orally consumed and cannot replace meals, preservatives or pharmaceutical drugs.

Dietary supplements can also have synthetically produced copies of natural vitamins or minerals.

These substances add nutritional value to your food to keep your risk of disease development at bay.

They can be often seen in the forms of pills, gel capsules, powders, liquids or extracts.

Although eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to get your nutrients, supplements can help in providing the missing micronutrients in your diet.

DO YOU NEED TO TAKE DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS?

The answer to this is maybe, maybe not. But how do you find out if you require a supplement intake? Simple! Consult your doctor/ dietitian before you consider.

Remember, taking any supplement without advice can have adverse effects on your body and become major problems.

Some dietary supplements interfere with the functioning of routine medicines and cause an antagonistic effect.

Therefore, if you feel the need to consume these, you should first ask your doctor.

Remember that supplements cannot be a substitute to your diet. A diet that is well balanced ensures optimal nutrition.

But certain groups do require supplementation according to their physiological state. Immunocompromised people, pregnant women and people on strong doses of medications do require supplementation.

Usually geriatric population have a weakened immune system and their rate of metabolism is also disturbed.

Therefore, it is essential to restore their normal levels of nutrients to ensure healthy functioning.

Especially, supplementation of calcium is very commonly prescribed to older people due to their weak bones.  This is a preventive measure to avoid fractures and other accidents

Calcium along with vitamin D strengthens the bones. Although milk and milk products are rich in calcium alongside green leafy vegetables, their poor absorption can hinder the bioavailability of nutrients.

 Similarly, vitamin D is absorbed best by exposure to the morning sunlight. But in older people this is comparatively slower so fortified supplements can be given.

Vitamin B6 helps in production of erythrocytes.

It is often found in bananas, chicken breasts, potatoes etc. however, geriatric population rarely get enough supply of this vitamin due to their aversion towards heavy foods.

Vitamin B12 maintains your nervous system.

Malabsorption can cause serious neurological disorders and hence this supplementation is very important. Although the required dietary intake is mentioned according to the guidelines, it is rarely followed.

ANTIOXIDANTS

These are the substances that inhibit oxidation, therefore protecting the body. Some common antioxidants which are consumed through the diet are:

Beta-carotene— dark green vegetables and dark orange fruits

Selenium—grains, liver, meat, seafood

Vitamin C—Citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers and berries

Vitamin E—Wheat germ, nuts, sesame seeds, and canola, olive, and peanut oils

Many supplements contain antioxidants to heal the body however the extent to which they help is not clear and hence these are rarely used.

HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS

The dietary supplements derived from plants are called herbal supplements. Some common plant-based supplements are ginseng, gingko biloba and black cohosh.

\These plants are being researched for their potential long-term health benefits. However, the research is still going strong.

Commonly used: Cranberry, Saw palmetto, Soy, Garlic, Gingko, Echinacea, Milk thistle, Black cohosh, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng

VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS

Vital organic nutrients required by the body obtained through dietary intake are called vitamins.

There are thirteen vitamins needed by the human body which are divided into fat soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

The list includes: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Biotin (B7), Folate (B9) and Vitamin B12.

Health problems and toxicity of vitamins can be fatal for the body. Therefore, to ensure optimal nutrition is met, the deficient individuals are recommended to use supplements

Commonly used: New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily Multi, Non-GMO, Certified Organic multivitamin contains key nutrients for women including calcium and vitamin D3, Centrum Silver Multivitamin, New Chapter Tiny Tabs Multivitamin, Garden of Life Vitamin Code Family 

MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS

Minerals are chemical elements, the most essential ones being carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen.

However, these are not considered as nutrients. The requirement of nitrogen is met from protein intake, while sulphur comes from amino acids. The recommended dietary allowances for minerals are given to ensure optimal functioning.

These minerals include- calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, chlorine, manganese, copper, iodine, chromium, selenium molybdenum and cobalt.

Deficiency of these minerals can be treated with the help of supplements. Mostly, the vitamin supplements and mineral ones are given in combination due to their synergistic properties.

Commonly used: private, organic India, Thorne, dragon herbs, vogue, new fit nutrition

PROTEIN AND AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTS

Protein containing supplements are usually marketed to those who are healing from an injury or a surgery. They also aid athletes in increasing their performance and minimising muscle loss. Whey protein is popularly used as an ingredient apart from casein, hemp, pea, rice protein.

BODY BUILDING SUPPLEMENTS:

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those people who are actively involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and athletics to increase lean body mass.

The purpose is to to increase muscle, increase body weight, improve athletic performance, and for some sports, to simultaneously decrease percent body fat so as to create better muscle definition.

Common ones are high protein drinks, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, arginine, essential fatty acids, creatine, HMB, whey protein, Marginal public also consumes bodybuilding supplements but the frequency and amounts differ.

Commonly used: Caffeine. Branched Chain Amino Acids, Citrulline Malate, No Booster, Whey Protein, Glutamine, Fish Oils.

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

It is very important to incorporate essential fatty acids in your diet; however, this deficiency is commonly observed.

Fish oil is a commonly used fatty acid supplement being a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are long chains of carbon atoms.

If single bonded (C-C), then the fatty acid is called saturated; with one double bond (C=C), it is called monounsaturated; if there are two or more double bonds (C=C=C), it is called polyunsaturated.

Only two fatty acids, both polyunsaturated, are considered essential to be obtained from the diet, as the others are synthesized in the body.

The “essential” fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid] ALA can be elongated in the body to create other omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).ALA is found in plant oils commonly.

Omega-3 dietary supplements include fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil (a vegetarian source that comes from algae). They provide a wide range of doses and forms of omega-3s.

PROBIOTICS

Live bacteria that can be consumed and are beneficial for the gut are called probiotics.

There are numerous advantages of using probiotic supplements, like maintaining gastrointestinal health including lower risk of and severity of acute upper respiratory tract infections.

Probiotic supplements are generally considered to be safe

Commonly used: Dr. Ohhira probiotics, GT’s Kombucha, Culturelle, Jarrow, Bio-K+ Probiotics, United Naturals

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AND SAFETY

The safety of supplements is completely dependent on the amount and type of ingredients used.

USFDA works to check safety for medicines based on prescriptions as well as the ones available over the counter, however for dietary supplements this does not hold true.

The companies are responsible to ensure safety of the supplements manufactured by them.

Therefore, reading the labels is very essential. Unsafe supplements are not marketed and the responsible companies face repercussions.

Private groups like consumerlab.com also have their own approval seals which are allotted only to products that are made using good manufacturing practices.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH SUPPLEMENT IS NEEDED FOR ME?

If you are struck with this thought then remember to research well on the supplements that come to your mind.

Symptomatically, you might not understand which supplementation is actually required, so remember to consult a doctor before taking a hasty step. Check your source of information.

Learn. Find out as much as you can about any dietary supplement you might take.

Talk with your doctor, your pharmacist, or a registered dietitian. A supplement that seemed to help your neighbour might not work for you.

If you are reading fact sheets or checking websites, be aware of the source of the information. Could the writer or group profit from the sale of a particular supplement? Read more about choosing reliable health information websites.

Take wise decisions. CIHIE ensures you select the best brand that meet your requirements. You do not have to worry about spending extra anymore. We use evidence-based information to give you our best services. Proven by science, we also guide you to its safety.

FUTURE

Improvising the information given out to the public about supplement usage is very necessary in the novel time of technology.

Professional programs, workshops and trainings can help one understand better about the supplements used and their benefits as well as harmful effects. No control and misleading information can cause severe problems in the future/ efficacy of the usage should be determined in better ways to avoid misuse of supplements.

After all supplements are manufactured products and manufacturing itself undergoes a series of processes which should be well guarded. It is necessary to keep in mind that some supplements are actually very important.

Example: vitamin D and calcium for optimal bone health, folate in pregnancy, iron in anaemia etc.

The basic key is to research well and if you don’t wish to spend your time doing that you can always trust us with your supplements.

We will effectively guide you to the best supplement that meets you needs and is valuable for your money too.

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