Health and Fitness

3 Things You Need to Consider Before Using Dietary Supplements

Trying to find information on nutritional supplements can be overwhelming. The internet is supposed to be a helpful source of information, but sometimes the amount of data available can overload your mind. Given how popular healthy living is nowadays, the science behind supplements is also gaining traction among food and science sites.

Look no further because here we’ve got the answers to the top three questions people ask about nutritional supplements.

  1. What’s the difference between dietary supplements and food supplements?

This can be confusing as most supplement producers and manufacturers use them interchangeably. In a nutshell, dietary supplements are those created by an outside source, like a pharmaceutical company. Food supplements are those you naturally get from eating certain food items. These are also often referred to as “nutrient-dense” food. Salmon, for example, is high on omega-3, which is said to lower heart disease.

Most doctors recommend you get your nutrition from these types of food, but that’s not to say that dietary supplements are bad. For example, people adopt a plant-based diet for health and humane reasons. However, this lifestyle could cause iron deficiency. Taking iron supplement pills could then be prescribed by the doctor so their patients could get their daily recommended intake of iron.

  1. What are the benefits of taking supplements?

As previously mentioned, taking dietary supplements can be beneficial to one’s health because it fills in the necessary daily nutritional needs of people with certain deficiencies. Pregnant women are often prescribed folic acid, for example, to help prevent babies from being born with defects. Calcium supplements are known to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

But is to for everybody? The truth is scientists are still debating this topic, especially when it comes to single-pill multivitamins. Most experts agree that there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking vitamin and mineral pills daily, as long as it doesn’t exceed your recommended daily dose.

  1. What supplements can you overdose on?

While going over the daily limit of most vitamins won’t do you any harm, there are a few that you need to be careful of.

  • Vitamin A – The recommended daily allowance for vitamin A is between 700 and 900 mcg for most adults. More than that and you could suffer from liver damage, painful bones and joints, hair loss, and severe headaches and vomiting.
  • Vitamin E – This is often being touted as a beauty supplement. People who take vitamin E often do so because pharmaceutical companies promise you’ll get healthier hair, skin, and nails. However, it is also known to interfere with blood-thinning medication, so too much vitamin E could cause blood clots.
  • B Vitamins – This is a kind of double-edged sword. On the one hand, doctors would prescribe vitamin B complex for its ability to enhance cell and brain function. However, taking more than the recommended daily allowance of up to 400 mcg (dosage depends on which type of B vitamin is being taken) could cause nerve damage, the very thing it is often treating.

You also need to consider that the daily supplements you need to take would depend on the person’s age and gender. Most of these pills are available over the counter, but be sure to talk to your doctor before you take any of these supplements to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with other medications you might be taking.

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