Some people are taking supplements for various reasons but their effects on our health should not be overlooked. Some supplements can have serious side effects, particularly if taken without the doctor’s approval or with other medications. Supplements may also lead to complications during pregnancy, if you are already breast-feeding, and if you already have certain health problems. And yet the possible consequences of some supplements have not been tested extensively in pregnant women, children and other groups. Hence, it is best to consult with your physician first before taking any supplements.
One important nutrient group that should be a part of your diet is vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are substances required for human body health. The human body needs all the vitamins and minerals we get from food, except some vitamin A which is only obtainable in beta-carotene. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin A. However, some health problems may require vitamin A supplementation.
Vitamin A supplements are recommended to help correct various diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, eczema, psoriasis, and even to protect against certain cancers. For example, the health council of the world health organization recommends vitamin A supplement for women since they are less likely to give birth to a baby with defects if they are taking sufficient amount of vitamin A. Similarly, fish oil is highly recommended for men since they can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that Omega 3 fatty acids may prevent the growth of blood clots in coronary artery disease sufferers. These fatty acids can be found in fish oil and are easily available in supplements.
Another group of nutrients that are usually recommended by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is Vitamin D and calcium. These two nutrients are essential to have a healthy bone density and strong teeth. However, many people are still uneducated on the importance of vitamin D or calcium. Recent studies show that people who take high doses of these two nutrients may reduce their chances of developing heart disease and osteoporosis, which are two major concerns for older adults.
Calcium and magnesium are present in abundance in most plant foods. Therefore, dietary supplements are necessary to compensate for the lack of these nutrients in the diet. The US FDA has approved some foods such as enriched white bread, enriched rice, and soy milk as containing adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium. It is advisable for people to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables per day as they are more likely to have adequate quantities of these minerals in their diet. On the other hand, for those who cannot eat enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, a good source of these minerals is through the use of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Although it is advisable for everyone to take one of the vitamins and minerals supplements recommended by healthcare providers regularly, there are some who choose not to take one due to several reasons. However, these reasons should be carefully weighed so that it does not cause undue harm to the body. Some people may not have enough money in their budget to purchase dietary supplements. For others, it may not be possible to find the supplements they need in stores.