Dietary Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?


Dietary Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

The food we eat is an integral part of our day. While everybody has a different definition of good food, depending on their taste buds, nutrition is something everyone requires. Most of us believe that eating fruits and veggies is enough to supply the required nutrients to the body. However, studies show that the regular Indian diet can offer only 70% of the required nutrients. Hence, to strike the right balance between food and nutrition, an easy-to-go-to option is food supplements.

Read on to understand more about dietary supplements and their benefits. Let’s also ponder on the question, “are supplements good for health?”

What are Supplements? 

Food supplements, also called nutritional supplements, are minerals and vitamins that you should take along with your everyday diet. Available in forms of pills, powders, drinks and even candy, dietary supplements have become very popular these days. If we talk about our country, listed below are the main deficiencies that  are common in India. However, a little awareness can bring greater change. We advise, you must get in touch with your healthcare provider and seek guidance before  starting with any food supplements.

1. Vitamin D

Despite the abundant sunshine the people of the country enjoy, most are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when it is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Staying away from the sun makes this deficiency severe.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which in turn gives protection against diabetes, heart issues, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Remember: In some cases, a high dose of vitamin D might not be well absorbed by the body. In some cases, people may suffer from vomiting, frequent urination and formation of calcium stones.

2. Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid

For healthy neurological development, vitamin B and folate are quite essential, and thus, they are often recommended to be taken together. Vitamin B12 is also crucial for cells, nerves and blood. Pregnant women are often prescribed folic acid to prevent a number of birth defects and risk of miscarriage.

Remember: Do not forget to consult your doctor before taking Vitamin B12, as high doses can cause diarrhoea and/ or vomiting. Excessive intake of folic intake (more than 1 mg a day) can also lead to nausea, irritability and skin reactions in some cases.

3. Iron

Iron is a mineral which is mostly found in the red blood cells. Iron supplements are mostly prescribed to people who are anaemic, as iron is essential in numerous body functions. The primary function is to carry the oxygen from cells to all over the body.  Mostly, pregnant women, preterm babies, young children, and especially teenage girls may be at risk of iron deficiency. While youth between the ages of 14 and 18 years need between 11-15 mg of iron in a day, adults up to the age of 50 typically require around 8mg a day.

Remember: Some people experience an upset stomach with iron supplements. Other troubles may include constipation, heartburn or stomach cramps.

Dietary Supplements: To Choose or Not To Choose

You must have heard many encouraging news pieces about dietary supplements.

But are supplements good for health?

Do these expensive pills really work, or are they a waste of money?

What you need to keep in mind is that supplements cannot be a substitute or replacement for a good, healthy diet. Also, eating supplements does not mean that you can now indulge in unhealthy eating habits.

In most cases, supplements benefit your overall health and well-being. But at the same time, there is little evidence to prove that they prevent or treat diseases, especially cancer or heart issues. As most pills come with hardly any long-term risks, people do not mind buying them as over-the-counter medicines. Sometimes, eating healthier in the form of supplements makes people feel healthier.

People today prioritise their well-being, and thus, there is an increased focus on healthcare services and products.  Most nutritional supplements promise to boost immunity and improve one’s overall mental and physical health. There are numerous supplements that are being marketed as being health-developing or disease-deterrent. However, the evidence that supports these claims is not adequate. As a consumer, the onus of choosing the right dietary supplement is on you.

Note: While most food supplements do not cause health risks, it is highly recommended that you get in touch with your doctor before you start taking any such pills. Only after a thorough consultation should you pop a pill.

Things to Know When Opting for Food Supplements

Whether you are taking supplements for general physical well-being or are taking dietary supplements for weight loss, it is essential to keep these points in mind:

Nothing Beats a Healthy Diet

Your reasons for starting dietary supplements may be specific or generic, but you need to keep in mind that these supplements are ‘supplementary’. They are supposed to add to the benefits of dietary products and may not be adequate solely to provide the required benefits. The importance of eating fresh fruits, green veggies, and well-cooked food cannot be undermined. Nutritional supplements might only be able to add the extra boost your food needs.

>> Also Read: A Healthy Diet Plan for Senior Citizens

Supplement may not always be Safe

Your individual health, as well as your medical history, can greatly determine the kind of supplements you need. Reading the labels, understanding the dietary supplement meaning and discussing the same with your healthcare provider is extremely important.

Speaking to Your Doctor is Vital

Choosing a nutritional supplement can be a smart choice. However, you need to be careful as well. The efficacy of a supplement, as well as its safety, can only be determined by an expert. Your doctor will explain the dietary supplement meaning and then prescribe the required dose.

Let’s Wrap It Up

It has been established that your average diet may not meet 100% of your body’s nutritional needs. In such a scenario, adding food supplements in the form of multivitamins/ multi-minerals can help bridge the nutrition void.

Adding a daily dose of nutrients to your food is the main supplement benefit that you can expect. It is important to consider health and wellness a top priority, and health insurance coverage is a crucial element here. With Care Health Insurance, you can easily choose the right kind of the best health insurance. With a wide range of customisable benefits, you can make the most of the plan you choose.

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

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