It is no longer surprising that most health food stores are filled with a dizzying assortment of dietary supplements. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming selecting a product, because there are thousands of products at your disposal –from vitamins and minerals to weight loss pills, and more.
But what are the types of nutrients you can get from dietary supplements? We shall be answering this common question in this article and showing you important points to keep in mind.
What are dietary supplements?
According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which was approved by Congress in 1994, dietary supplements are products that contain one or more nutrients intended to supplement the diet. However, dietary supplements are not intended to replace nutritious foods. Undoubtedly, foods are complex and contain not only vitamins and minerals, but also fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and a host of other nutritious substances not yet fully explored by science. All these constituents work together to provide several health benefits.
However, the American Dietetic Association (ADA recognizes that many people do not get the required amount of nutrients from their diet. Hence, supplements help to enhance a diet where there are shortfalls. Dietary supplements have been found useful in people with food allergies or intolerance, nursing mothers, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those with diseases such as kidney, cancer, bone, or cardiovascular disease.
However, you don’t have to fall under any of those categories before taking dietary supplements. You can take organic dietary supplements to help complement your diet and get an adequate amount of nutrients.
What types of nutrients can you get from dietary supplements?
Below are some of the best nutrients you get from dietary supplements:
Calcium is an essential mineral needed for several functions in the body. Your body needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth in your childhood years. As an adult, you also need calcium to maintain bone mass. But unfortunately, this mineral is one of the most often lacking in American’s diets. You can get a good amount of this mineral from foods such as dark leafy greens, dairy products, beans, fish, soybeans, raisins, and fortified foods.
The U.S Dietary Guidelines recommend three servings of non-fat or low-fat dairy each day to help bridge the shortfalls in calcium. But many people shun dairy, which is the best source of calcium. Some people misinterpret a sensitivity to lactose as being lactose-intolerant. But if you haven’t been diagnosed as lactose-intolerant, it is okay to give dairy another chance. This mineral is also available in supplement form, with calcium lactate or citrate being the best absorbed by the body.
Vitamin C helps for colds, wound healing, and immunity. It is found in foods such as oranges, grapefruits, papayas, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and melons. However, you can get an adequate amount of this immune-boosting vitamin in the form of supplements. Interestingly, taking up to about 1,000 milligrams a day won’t harm you. Excess amounts of this water-soluble vitamin is easily excreted by the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish/animal oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown by studies to be cardioprotective. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish twice weekly. However, most people do not come close to getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. This is partly due to the heightened fear of mercury levels in all types of fish.
But, apart from eating fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, or foods such as soybeans, walnuts, flax, canola oil, you can also get enough omega-3 fatty acids in supplements.
Experts recommend that we get a safe sun exposure daily to maintain proper blood levels of vitamin D needed for strong bones and good health. You can also get this essential nutrient from foods such as cereals, fortified milk, tuna, and salmon. But most times, we do not get enough vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and protect against chronic diseases.
Luckily, you can get an adequate amount of vitamin D daily in supplement form to complement your exposure to safe sunlight and diet. Experts found that adults and infants can tolerate 1,000 IUs a day, without risk of toxicity.
The B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-12, and Vitamin B-6 are all essential for our health and wellbeing. However, as you grow older your body absorbs less of these from foods. You can get an adequate amount of B vitamins in dietary supplements and add it to your diet routine. Some medical conditions of drugs that interfere with vitamin absorption may also require you to take vitamin B supplementation.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps your body maintain a healthy blood pressure. According to recommendations by the USDA, the average American should get 4,000 mg of potassium every day. Some good sources of potassium include beans, potatoes, yogurt, fish, fruit, and milk. Unfortunately, most people are missing this nutrient in their diet. But you can get enough of potassium in supplement form to make up for the shortage.
Magnesium is one essential nutrient needed to help your arteries, muscles, and heart work properly. It is also needed to help your body produce energy. In fact, the USA recommends that every adult should get 380 mg of magnesium every day.
Magnesium is found in good amounts in beans, vegetables, and nuts. And it is available in supplement form to ensure you get it in adequate quantity daily. Other types of nutrients you can get from dietary supplements include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
Important points to remember
Not getting enough nutrients can have serious consequences on your overall health and wellbeing. Most times, lack of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, can lead to malnutrition. Some vitamin deficiencies can even put your life at risk. So taking nutrients in dietary supplements has been a good way to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of essential vitamins and minerals.
However, having too much of some vitamins can also be dangerous, especially if you’re pregnant or have health conditions. This is why it is important to talk to your doctor or a health expert before adding a supplement to your routine.