According to the definition by FDA (Food and drug administration), dietary supplements are products which contains a dietary ingredient which adds nutritional value to the diet. Dietary ingredient can either be a single compound or it could be a combination as well. Dietary supplement is not an alternative to any medicine or meal but it acts as an addition to it to enhance the nutrition of the meal.
A dietary supplement can be either a single compound or combination of the following:
- Botanical species
- Amino acids
Plant based formulations are the ones which are formulated out of different plants or herbs having potent benefits in terms of enhancing health. These formulations can either be a single plant or herb or combination of both of them.
Note: – These formulations act as a supplement to the current food and medicine and it cannot be replaced in place of either foods or medicines.
Do dietary supplements help and work?
- Dietary supplements help in bridging the gap between the nutrients which are not obtained from diet.
- This mostly happens with micronutrients. They are somewhere lost and we are not able to make the most of it from food. That’s where dietary supplements come into picture. Addition of a multivitamin with normal food can help in reaching out to get most of the nutrients.
- It becomes a bit difficult to say that which nutrient is most important by your body. For example, you need zinc for proper functioning of the body but along with it you also need copper to make the most of zinc. Instead of getting it from 2 different sources, both micronutrients can be clubbed together in one capsule and the nutrient needs would suffice.
What points needs to be taken care off while choosing a dietary supplement?
- Usually, dietary supplements are formulated in a controlled environment with proper testing’s and labelling.
- While choosing dietary supplement for cancer therapy, extra precautions should be taken.
- Before buying a dietary supplement, label should be thoroughly checked. Also there are many things which manufactures don’t mention it in the label like fillers, combination herbs and also few drugs which might be controversial or having potent health risks.
- It is always better to consult your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist before buying any supplement. Because they are better aware about the constituents than a layman buying a supplement.
- If you are choosing a supplement which has herbs used in it then it is always advised to check for the part of plant which is used. The part which has benefits should only be considered and other things should be avoided unless entire plant is recommended.
- Always avoid those supplements which mentions “100% cure”, “No side effects” because such products are never authentic and might contain harmful chemicals in it as well.
- Avoid taking mixtures of more than 2 dietary ingredients. Benefits of the same might be reduced.
- Do not start with many products at a time. Always try using one supplement and making the most out of it and switching off to another supplement.\
- Pregnant and lactating women should avoid taking dietary supplement unless 0prescribed.
- Cancer patients might face severe sensitivity issues with dietary supplements if taken during radiation therapy. Hence it is always advisable that consult your doctor before you go ahead with any kind of supplementation.
- There are chances of many allergic reactions taking place if dietary supplements are taken with prescription drugs. Hence, before buying any supplement. Make sure you mention about the supplements that you are currently taking when your doctor is prescribing you medicines.
- Currently, procedures for preparing dietary supplements are not standardized. Hence, it becomes even more important to choose supplements wisely before you buy.
- Potent benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements are known.
- Labels should be checked for heavy metals details. Heavy metals are highly toxic for human body and can cause severe diseases and disorders.
- It is always advisable to know about all the ingredients present in the supplements thoroughly.
Before buying a supplement you should always ask following questions to yourself: –
- Is the label authentic?
- Does the manufacturer of the supplement have good reviews?
- What are the potent benefits of the products?
- How safe is the product?
- How long should you take this supplement to get the most out of it?
- What is the dosage of the supplement?
- After you get all the answers for these questions. Go ahead with purchasing.