Having good health is a top priority for many of us. To achieve this, we must eat the right food and we have regular exercise or an active lifestyle. These things will help us ensure that we are always fit and in good medical status. However, there are times that despite our efforts to have a balanced lifestyle, we still find ourselves facing health issues. Even if we have a balanced diet, it is possible that we still lack some nutrients that our body needs such as calcium, vitamin C, and others. In many instances, when we hit with medical terms like “calcium deficiency”, we tend to question our eating habits or patterns. When this happens, many people resort to intaking additional food supplements and multivitamins just to have the nutrients that they need.
Additional doses of minerals, vitamins, or food alternatives are easy to get as they are available at drug stores as well as in groceries or supermarkets near us. The question now is whether these are safe to use or whether it is good for us to depend on them.
Many dietary guidelines issued by local government agencies recommend that we still get sufficient nutrients mainly from foods. These agencies call us to get our daily nutrition by practicing healthy eating habits such as having nutrient-dense fruits or meals.
Learn more about this topic. Let us explore the basic important facts about dietary or food supplements.
What is a Supplement?
Launched in the commercial market to provide additional nutrients to consumers, supplements will help boost the quantity or volume of minerals, nutrients, amino acids, fatty acids, fiber, or vitamins that we get from the common food sources. To achieve this, manufacturers combine different sources like polyphenols and plant pigments to come up with sufficient nutrients needed by consumers. A good example of this is when companies or manufacturers extract collagen from several sources such as fish and chicken just to suffice the level that they need.
Common Practices and National Policies
Now that we have a background of the subject, let us proceed with the common practices related to this. There are countries where these health products are rampantly used. Due to this trend, national governments have established policies to regulate these items.
In Canada and the U.S., labeling and food regulatory approvals are requirements to commercially launch these. The same case applies in Europe wherein regulations are strictly implemented to ensure that these items are properly labeled and safe to intake.
The Popularity of the Product
In 2015, financial reports that have been released for public use stated that the value of this industry has reached $37 billion in the U.S. In addition to the valuation, the reports also state that at that time, half of the adult population in the country purchase or use the dietary products. Total items available in the market at that time in the country alone are over 50,000.
Despite the growing market for the products, the U.S. government still does not allow manufacturers to promote the items to consumers with a claim that these can cure or prevent any illness or medical condition since only a drug can do so. Additionally, the U.S. restricts its marketing based on the country’s good manufacturing practices.
Do You Really Need to Take Supplements?
We have learned about the practices and trends related to the sales and use of these products. Let us proceed and assess whether we need to take these health products or not?
Based on what we have covered and from various health research and regulations implemented by countries, we can say that it is still best to get our nutrients from our daily food intake. Nutritionists agree that to stay healthy, we need to always try to eat foods based on dietary guidelines. This way we can increase our chances of having a balanced diet and limit our risks of having nutrient deficiencies.
Aside from having a balanced diet, food experts suggest that we watch the calories that we intake as this contributes to poor appetite. Moreover, we have to limit the frequency or eliminate unhealthy practices such as drinking alcoholic beverages or intaking illicit drugs as these surely affect our daily nutrients.
Although it is safer to get our nutrients from food sources, it does not mean that we cannot take supplements. It is because there are people who need them. Perfect examples are those who have limited food choices due to allergies. For instance, those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet should take these health additives to suffice their vitamin B12 need, as this is commonly present in animal food sources, which are not included in their daily diet.
The same goes for pregnant women. They must receive sufficient folic acid, thus they need to get these from food sources like grains and cereals as well as from drinks or vitamins with this nutrient. In addition to folic acid, iron and vitamin D are also important to them. So health care providers may suggest that they take supplements.
My Take on the Subject
We should always take control of our health. In many instances, our health or medical situations are the results of what we do to our bodies. Believe me when I say that without good health, the other areas of our lives will suffer. Thus, the saying “health is wealth.”
As for the controversy regarding the safety of supplements, all I can say is that the best way to be healthy is still to have a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. However, we cannot say that this is true at all times as there will be moments that our food sources will not be enough to provide what our body needs. To avoid any health dangers, the best thing to do is to consult and seek advice from medical professionals before we take these health products. This way we can limit the risks and maximize the benefits that we can get from them.