Do you really need a daily multivitamin, fish oil, or antioxidants formulas? Want to prevent nutrient deficiencies and enjoy optimal health?

If so, dietary supplements can help.

However, they are not a substitute for real food.

These products are often overused or misunderstood, which may lead to potential health problems. Before popping pills, you need to realize that supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry.

Their quality varies from one brand to the next.

Dietary Supplements: Real Help or Marketing Hype?

More than 68 percent of Americans take dietary supplements. About 78 percent believe that these products deliver what that they say on the label.

Some use them to fill nutrient gaps and enjoy better health. Others take supplements for greater energy, immune support, or disease prevention.

Multivitamins, B-complex vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are among the most popular products.

Surprisingly, health experts have mixed feelings about these pills. Research indicates that dietary supplements taken by one in three customers have no clear benefits and might even be dangerous.

Too much of anything can harm your health.

Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins can not be stored by the body, so the excess is excreted. Large amounts of vitamin A may cause blurred vision, headaches, hair loss, and liver damage.

When consumed in Excess, vitamin D can lead to dehydration, fatigue, irritability, constipation, and calcification of the soft tissues.

Hypervitaminosis E has been linked to an increased risk of bleeding, hormonal disorders, and elevated triglycerides levels.

Yet, many supplements provide over 500 percent of the recommended daily intake of these nutrients.

Multivitamins are designed to complement your diet, not to replace the nutrients in food.

Pregnant women, children, and seniors have special nutrient requirements, so they can benefit from supplements.

However, most people can obtain optimal doses of vitamins and minerals through diet.

Supplements are also a good choice for vegans and vegetarians, athletes, and individuals suffering from medical conditions that affect nutrient absorption.

If you eat less than two servings of fish per week, you can benefit from omega-3 supplements.

Why Take Dietary Supplements?

In a perfect world, you should be able to obtain the necessary nutrients from food.

Unfortunately, many foods nowadays lose antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals during processing or transportation.

Additionally, you may not have the time needed to cook healthy meals and track your daily nutrient intake. 

Dietary supplements can help prevent nutrient deficiencies, increase antioxidant levels in the body, and boost immune function. In order to work, they must be used as part of a balanced diet.

No supplement can offset the harmful effects of bad eating.

Before using these products, make sure you know your daily nutrient requirements. Assess your diet and try to figure out what nutrients are missing.

For example, the daily recommended allowance of calcium of 1,000 mg to 1,200 milligrams a day. Folate intake shouldn't intake 1,000 mg per day. Aim for 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D each day.

Ideally, you should obtain these nutrients from food as opposed to supplements.

Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to prevent nutrient deficiencies and improve overall health.

Without doubt, dietary supplements have their perks. They are particularly beneficial for those who eat processed foods or don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables.

However, be aware that many vitamins and minerals in supplements are not absorbed into your system as well as those found in real food.

Don't rely on pills to ward off diseases, maintain a healthy weight, or cure certain conditions. Incorporate whole foods in your diet, cut back on processed foods, and talk to a doctor about which supplements are right for you. 

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