Dietary supplements have come a long way since their first debut during the 1950s. Its crude version, a milk and egg protein formulation, was created by Irvin Johnson. The high protein-based supplement became a dietary sensation, especially to the bodybuilding community (read more). It is only during the year 1994 when supplements were acknowledged by the FDA, classifying them under the food category but not subjecting them to various clinical trials and tests.
With over 50 percent of the adult population taking nutritional supplements, it is no surprise that the industry garnered a whopping $35 billion market sale last 2019. It is a strong commodity today and will remain one as the years go by. As long as there are individuals who take their health seriously, nutritional supplements will never go out of style.
People are becoming more concerned about their health as they reach their prime years. They become conscious of what they put into their mouths, opting for a natural alternative rather than chemical ones. If you want optimum health, you cannot rely solely on food to help supply your daily nutritional needs.
Whatever healthy diet you are on, it cannot possibly provide all the vitamins and minerals that your body requires in just one meal. This is where dietary additions come and save the day.
What Are Dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplements are also known as nutritional, health, or food supplements. You can use all terms interchangeably since they all mean the same thing. Visit https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx to find out more about it.
A dietary supplement is a broad category of products that are intended to improve one’s overall health. It also claims to help individuals stave off serious health conditions that, unfortunately, come with age. Dietary supplementation has two endgames: (1) to provide the body with the nutrients it needs and (2) to enhance its overall food intake.
To be labeled as a food supplement by the FDA, it should have the following requirements:
- It should reinforce a person’s diet orally.
- It should contain a substantial amount of any dietary ingredient such as vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, enzyme or a combination of the said ingredients.
- Its packaging should contain proper label i.e. health claims, nutritional content, and limitations.
- These health products can either be natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic. However, people are more inclined to patronize those that are made from organic and natural materials. With almost 85,000 different products in the market, there are several categories of supplementation that exist, aside from the famous multivitamin and multi-mineral health products.
- Specialty supplements such as fish oils, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, fibre, and glucosamine.
- Herbs and botanicals such as ginseng, green tea, cranberry, and Echinacea
- Sports nutrition and weight management such as energy and hydration drinks, green coffee, and protein shake.
Are They Effective?
Food supplements did not become a staple American diet for no reason. It does provide our body with its micronutrient needs and help correct nutritional deficiencies. However, it is still essential to get our dietary needs from actual food sources.
If you are not someone who is over the age of 50 or recovering from a serious health issue, then you can fend off taking dietary supplements for now. Health supplementation is also recommended for individuals with diet intake problems, pregnant women, vegans, and those with food allergies.
Before making a list of the top supplements to take, make sure to check the FDA’s website for the brand’s legitimacy. Also, it would not hurt to make a little research and view some online reviews about the supplements you are planning to take.
What Are Some Beneficial Health Supplements?
Calcium and Vitamin D
This mineral-vitamin combo goes hand in hand in maintaining the health and strength of our bones, muscles, and heart. Despite our age, we normally lose calcium daily through our urine, faeces, skin, and nails. So, it is important to supply our body with enough calcium and vitamin D to keep normal body health and functions. Aside from supplementary sources, natural sources of calcium and vitamin D include milk, leafy vegetables, and canned fish.
It is very important to take ample amounts of vitamin D together with calcium because our body greatly depends on the former to absorb the latter. Vitamin D is responsible for the production of the hormone calcitriol, which stimulates the absorption of dietary calcium in the body.
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring chemical substance in the body. Healthy individuals can make their own CoQ10 supply, but production gradually decreases during old age and medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer.
Aside from generating energy, CoQ10 works by protecting the cells from oxidative stress and damage. It also boosts our metabolism, and aids in the production of mitochondrial ATP. The depletion of this valuable enzyme leads to the formation of heart diseases, which will eventually result in early heart failure.
Proper dietary supplementation of CoQ10 is essential to prevent certain conditions such as hypertension, muscular dystrophy, gum disorder, cancer, low sperm count (read more).
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids come in the form of fish oil products, which contain eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. The American Heart Association recommends twice a week intake of fish products such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and herring. However, AHA also recommends fish oil supplements as a great source of this essential fatty acid.
Science-based findings show that omega-3 fatty acid helps lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, improves eye health, enhances mental condition, and protects the heart from developing irreversible medical conditions.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are well-known food supplements that protect and enhance eye-health. Unfortunately, these two carotenoids are not naturally occurring in organic nutrients. They can only come from eating fresh fruits and vegetables (lutein and zeaxanthin occur as plant pigmentation) or taking supplementary help.
Aside from preventing eye-related disorders, these carotenoids are also potent antioxidants that defend the body from the damaging works of free radicals. They also protect body proteins and DNA from oxidative damage and recycle glutathione—another potent antioxidant.
Lutein and zeaxanthin also reduce the body’s bad cholesterol levels, preventing the formation of several heart ailments.