Food supplements are concentrated sources of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, fatty acids, and other substances which are either in the form of capsules, tablets or pills. Also known as dietary or nutritional supplements, food supplements are meant to supplement the body with necessary nutrients that are lacking in our diet. Other than dietary values, they can also provide physiological effects to the human body.
Because of the busy lifestyle in today’s world, fast foods have become the most common source of food for more people which is a clear deviation from our healthy habits. Thus, the need for food supplements has become increasingly necessary because fast foods are not known to serve the most nutritious food which our bodies need.
Because food supplements do not need the prescription of medical doctors, they are usually self-prescribed. This makes us vulnerable to the following risk factors brought about by taking in some food supplements without professional advice.
Know the Contraindications of Your Food Supplement
Some food supplements have side effects on some medical conditions. Talk to your doctor about taking in food supplements when you have just undergone surgery. You should also seek medical advice when you are pregnant or before giving your child capsules of food supplements.
The following are examples of side effects of specific food supplements.
- Vit. K can reduce the potency of blood thinners.
- St. John’s wort makes anti-depressants and birth control pills less effective.
- Comfrey can cause heavy damage to your liver.
- Vit. E can raise the probability of prostate cancer.
Know the Daily Value of Your Food Supplement
It is beneficial to know the daily value of food supplements in order not to have excessive amounts higher than what is required by the body, or you may derive harmful consequences instead of getting the beneficial effects. The following food supplements, though they are known for their beneficial effects, should not be taken in above their daily value.
- Fish oil promotes heart health.
- Vit. B12 keeps the blood and nerve cells healthy.
- Calcium and Vit. D are good for the bones.
- Vitamins C and E are known anti-oxidants
- Iron is good for milk production.
Food Supplements Are Not Drugs
Dietary supplements are considered food products and are not classified as drugs. There is no agency that regulates their production except for the DFA which only restricts products when they hit the market. Consumers purely rely on the manufacturer’s responsibility to produce quality food supplements. While some food supplements have seals of approval from independent bodies, it is not a guarantee that food supplements have undergone the strictest procedures.
Indeed, some food supplements are proven to have amazing health benefits, but they do not cure. Some even need more researches to verify their health claims. Otherwise, if we prepare and eat nutritious food at home, do we still need food supplements? Ask your doctor.…