Eating nutritious foods is a great way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, sometimes it is challenging to eat enough fruits, vegetables, and other healthy choices. That is why some choose to take multivitamins and other supplements to help boost nutrients.
What are Vitamins, Supplements, Minerals, and Proprietary Blends?
Supplements are products taken by mouth that contain some “dietary ingredients.” These ingredients include vitamins, herbs and botanicals, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, probiotics, enzymes, and other nutrients.
Supplements are available in a variety of forms. Capsules, powders, gummies, liquid, and tinctures are some of them. They are often marketed as an efficient tool to boost your mental and physical health.
Other definitions you need to fully understand in searching for the right supplements are the following:
Vitamins are vital nutrients your body needs to keep healthy. Many of these vitamins help your body function properly and regulate essential metabolic functions.
These kinds of vitamins can dissolve in fat. They are stored in your body. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, E, D, and K.
These kinds of vitamins can dissolve in water. These are not stored in your body. Examples include vitamins B and C.
Minerals are inorganics vital for specific bodily functions. This includes bone health, fluid balance, and growth.
- Proprietary Blends
A proprietary blend is a combination of different ingredients. A supplement manufacturer makes it. Most of the time, it would not be easy to know based on the label how much each of the ingredients is included.
Who Needs Supplements?
Most healthy people don’t need any supplements. However, some may need extra help. Especially those who have certain health conditions that may need supplements to meet nutritional necessities.
Most of the time, doctors prescribe supplements for the following:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women;
- Breastfed babies;
- Those who have nutritional deficiencies;
- Individuals who have restricted access to food;
- Those who have conditions that cause nutrient malabsorption;
- Individuals who have undergone some bariatric surgery;
- Some vegetarians and vegans.
If you have the following health conditions, you may have trouble absorbing the needed nutrients:
- Alcohol dependence;
- An autoimmune disorder;
- A mutation in genes;
- Celiac disease;
- Cystic fibrosis;
- Darker skin (tends to absorb less vitamin D);
- Inflammatory bowel disease;
- Liver disease.
Some nutrient deficiencies are more common. An example of this would be vitamin D. Vitamin D can be challenging to get enough from the foods you eat alone. It is estimated that about a million people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D.
Your body produces vitamin D through sunlight exposure. If you frequently apply sunscreen or love to stay indoors, you might have low levels of vitamin D. Older adults may not be able to efficiently synthesize vitamin D due to their old age. Because of this, vitamin D supplements are commonly prescribed by doctors.
Steps To Take in Choosing Vitamins and Supplements
Dietary supplements include fish oils, herbs, vitamins, and minerals, such as calcium. About half of American adults take these in addition to their diet. Here are steps you can try in choosing the right vitamins and supplements for you:
Know What Your Body Needs
Your nutritional needs depend on many factors. This includes your current medical condition, your age, the types of food you frequently eat, as well as health problems you will likely get. Moreover, it is vital to consult your doctor concerning this matter.
Suppose you are likely to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend some folic acids. This will prevent you from having certain types of congenital disabilities. Or if you want to improve your heart health, your doctor might prescribe you some omega-3s.
You can use the following tips in choosing the right supplements:
- Do some research.
Look up the benefits and risks your chosen supplements might have. Some just automatically take supplements without even doing some research about it. Moreover, when in doubt, consult your doctor.
- Check the label.
It is essential to know if these supplements are certified and safe to take. Some may be fake or ineffective. Remember that your health is on the line when it comes to choosing the wrong ones.
Make sure you get the answers to these questions:
- What are its benefits?
- Do any of these have risks?
- How much should I take?
- How long should I take it?
Update Your Doctor
You should update your doctor on what you are taking, or you are planning to take. Your doctor will check on the following to keep you safe:
- Possible side effects;
- How it fits into your diet;
- How much is considered okay;
- Your expectations.
It is vital to note that dietary supplements are only meant to supplement. They should not be used to replace nutrients in your diet. Hence, eating healthy is still recommended.
Jack Harris is a 67-year-old freelance writer. At his old age, he still manages to stay fit and healthy. He loves to write about prescription drugs and the ways you can do to choose the best ones.