Food Supplements | Pros and Cons

Food Supplements | Pros and Cons

There has always been a grey area as far as dietary supplements are concerned. A clear majority of people have been known to benefit from these supplements while a fraction of us have borne the ill-effects of it too. Incorrect use of dietary supplements can lead to risks to the body.

However, there are certain things everyone must be quite aware of when it comes to using food supplements. Your personal medical condition, your dietary habits, and your lifestyle is quite important and must be taken into consideration while deciding what dietary supplements to take.  

Also, vitamins and minerals are quite widespread in our diet alone. Apart from certain vitamins, most of this nourishment is presented to us in the form of our diet itself. However, when our diet falls short of these vitamins and minerals, it is recommended to turn to food supplements to fill the void of the required nutrition.

 

Before we delve into the details of using food supplements, let’s understand why they are important, and what must you prefer under general circumstances.

  • Professional guidance is the most crucial before subjecting your body to any sort of synthetic or organic supplements.

So, make sure you consult your doctor and be fully aware of your medical conditions when you start supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals. Another most important aspect to bear in mind is to avoid overdosing of fat-soluble vitamins. It is impossible to overdose on water soluble vitamins like B and C, but fat-soluble vitamins pose certain risks with excess consumption.

Is Using Food Supplements Recommended over Regular Food?

On one hand, where some brands and companies are struggling hard to provide their customers with nothing but the best nutrition, others are just milking money in the name of health and fitness.

Food supplements like vitamins and minerals from reputed and trustworthy companies have known to beneficially affect people in improving their immunity and good health. Having said that, some people have even fallen prey to malpractices by some other companies allowing their health to suffer in the long term.

Which is why, food supplements, especially synthetic ones including inorganic ingredients, are never recommended over that of naturally occurring food. But sometimes, one is not in the condition to eat certain foods or consume meals which their bodies require nutrition from.

 

Allergies, sickness, medical conditions like chronic disorders and lifestyle habits may cause you to keep away from particular meals. Also, during pregnancy, menopause, childbirth, lactation, and bodybuilding, one may need more energy that is granted by diet alone.

Under both these circumstances, using food supplements like multivitamins and minerals like calcium and iron is quite recommended and advised. It is never good to keep your body devoid of the nourishment it requires especially when it is being put under strain in conditions like old age, pregnancy, childbirth, and bodybuilding.

Does Veganism Affect What Nutrients You Can Consume?

Being vegan also keeps your body from consuming certain essential nourishment like omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A. Animal liver and fatty fish are great sources of vitamins and minerals which vegans cannot take advantage of. In their growing years, children perform much better if they are put on vitamin and mineral supplements.

Under What Circumstances is Using Food Supplements a Wise Option?

True that vitamin and mineral supplements may not be the best option to consider over food sources, but sometimes certain situations call for using food supplements. Here are some:

  • Old age:

People above 65 years of age are more prone to disorders and acquired illnesses despite living a healthy lifestyle and having healthy eating habits. Opportunistic infections, loss of teeth, and mood swings make it difficult to have a balanced diet. Doctors recommend vitamin and mineral supplements to the elderly to help them keep up with their dietary requirements.

  • Pregnancy and lactation:

An expecting or lactating woman is practically providing for two bodies instead of one. However, it is impossible to consume twice the amount of food. In this case, vitamins and minerals supplements are the most important and primary ones that are quite recommended for every woman and her unborn or little child.

  • Children in their growing years:

Vitamins like A, D, E, K, B, C and minerals like calcium, selenium, and salmon omega fish oil supplements are some of the most popular and highly recommended ones given to kids. This helps in their growth and developmental years to lay a healthy foundation for their adult years. It even prevents deficiency of these essential nutrients since most kids are picky eaters.

  • Veganism and vegetarianism:

People who only derive their nourishment from plant sources are more likely to be deficient in nutrients occurring only in animal products like meat and poultry. Supplements of vitamin B12 and D and minerals like zinc and iron are recommended for vegans.

  • Nutrient deficiencies:

If an individual is already suffering from a deficiency of a particular nutrient like vitamin A or D or C, or minerals like iron and calcium. They are bound to rely upon supplements to meet their dietary requirements.

  • Lifestyle effects:

For someone spending most of their time indoors, chances are they may fall prey to vitamin D deficiency. Likewise, pay attention to how your lifestyle is influencing your health and address it accordingly by using vitamin and mineral supplements.  

  • Illnesses and allergies:

Allergies and sickness may cause you to eliminate certain foods from your diet altogether. This may result in a long-term deficiency of that particular nutrient. The only alternative to prevent the ill consequences of deficiency disorders is to use food supplements.

For example, if you’re allergic to spinach or conditions like kidney stones advise you against consuming spinach, it’s best to consider vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for it.

  • Bodybuilding:

People who are into working out, weight training, and bodybuilding need to supplement their diet with added nutrition like calcium, protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. It is not physically possible to consume a large amount of food to meet these requirements for building lean muscle mass. Hence, supplements play a major role in this regard.

  • Improving immunity:

For people who are quite weak and fall prey to opportunistic infections quite easily are given regular doses of vitamin supplements. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant thereby improving the immunity and the overall strength of the body in the long run.

PROS and CONS of consuming vitamins and mineral supplements?

Every aspect of nutrition has some advantages and disadvantages to it. Let’s have a look at what are the probable pros and cons of consuming vitamin and mineral food supplements as opposed to consuming their natural and organic food derivatives.

PROS:

  • They help in curbing any sort of nutrient deficiency that your body may be facing

 

  • Multi-vitamins are a quick and reliable source of energy without having to consume food

 

  • Enhances memory retention and concentration power

 

  • Boosts immunity and promotes good overall health

 

  • This is the best option to complement the nutritional requirements of a picky eater

CONS:

  • Our bodies may become accustomed to consuming multi-vitamins over natural food sources over a period of time.

 

  • Having multivitamins regularly may cause an overdose of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, leading to ill-consequences in the long run.

 

  • Supplements like calcium cause deposits in the kidney leading to kidney stones or gallbladder disorders in due course of time.

 

  • Some supplements contain harmful chemicals and additives that can take a toll on the health of the other vital organs in the body.

 

  • There is no guarantee that your multi-vitamin supplements will function in your body as per your expectation. You may or may not achieve the desired results even after proper doses.

Having said that, these cons of taking multi-vitamins and mineral supplements can be cured if you take the required steps. Make sure that the brand of supplement you use has a good reputation and that its ingredients are strictly approved by the FDA.

Additionally, it will be better if you go a step further and choose those supplements which have only organic and natural components listed as their ingredients. Lastly, consume your supplements in the required recommended amounts only after consulting with your doctor.

How can you up the intake of vitamins and minerals in your diet?

If you wish to avoid taking in food supplements, the best option is to resort to improving your diet. Ensure that you make conscious efforts in the right direction to keep topping up the number of nutrients in your diet.

Here are some food items you must include in your diet to complement your requirement for vitamins and minerals:

  • Green leafy vegetables are a great source of minerals like iron and calcium. Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and kale are quite popular ones. You can cook, boil, make a salad of these veggies, or have it as a side to consume.
  • Fresh fruits and colored veggies too are a great source of antioxidants like vitamin C which is good for your hair, skin, and nails. It even boosts your immunity with regular use.
  • Animal products like cheese, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are quite rich in minerals like selenium, zinc, and calcium needed to complement the rest of your nutrient intake.
  • Nuts, cereals, legumes, pulses, grains, whole foods work in the same regard in imparting the much-needed nourishment like vitamins and minerals to your daily balanced diet.

Most of these food items are even great at providing you with the nourishment from trace elements and minerals like iodine and fluorine. Although they are quite widespread in our diet and fortified in processed foods too, it is important to keep a track of its consumption.

Salt is now strictly fortified with iodine to help curb the ill-effects of goiter, a deficiency of iodine. Fluorine, needed for good dental health, is found in toothpaste. This ensures that a deficiency never occurs, but it is better if you take the due steps in your power by supplementing your diet with trace elements to avoid such an occurrence in the long run.

In Conclusion:

Speaking of vitamins, minerals, and their supplements, the topic is still under debate. However, a huge majority of scientific researchers and medical professionals recommend using food and natural sources as the source of any type of nutrition that your body needs. Your food works like magic for your body.

The best way to make sure this happens is to have a well-balanced diet completely full of vitamins and minerals. Eggs, green leafy veggies, nuts, legumes, pulses, whole foods, and grains in the recommended right amounts each day are just what you need to fulfill your dietary requirements of vitamins and minerals.

If you don’t and you still wish to use food supplements, consume in limits with quite a sharp eye on each dose. Take extra care especially with fat-soluble vitamins since you don’t want to bear the consequences of its overdose.

Never forget to consult your physician before consuming any supplement especially if you are suffering from any chronic disorders. Kidney disorders, fatty liver, cardiovascular diseases, gut health, inflammatory bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disorder, hypertension, high blood pressure, or any kind of inflammation needs special care and treatment before you use any sort of dietary supplements in the long run.

So, yes, multivitamin supplements are a good option to consider, but it’s wise to talk to your doctor first to see what suits your health concerns.