Do we need to re-think about consuming dietary supplements?

Published On: November 2022

A healthy body paves the way to a healthy life. Everything needs maintenance, and our body is not exceptional to it. The proper nutrients of proteins, vitamins, carbs, fats, minerals, and water intake in the correct proportion make an individual fit and healthy. However, due to the sedentary lifestyle, the busy schedule of work, carelessness, and sometimes hereditary problems, issues arise due to insufficient essentials in the body, causing concern for our health and moving towards deficiency. Medicines cure ailments but relying on just medication can take a toll on health due to their side effects. Hence, incorporating dietary supplements in our diet can help us maintain the levels for better health.

Fundamental Difference between Medication and Supplements

  • Medications cannot be taken without a doctor’s consultation, but the supplements may be taken without doctors’ advice as supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • Supplements are added or included in the diet that is taken regularly to give the portion of the nutrient required and repair the issue while benefitting the overall health.

  • For instance: Protein powders are added to smoothies or milk to fulfill the proportion of protein in the person’s diet.

  • The standardized proof is not required to prove the effectiveness of the supplements as they are self-regulated by the manufacturer. However, dietary supplements must adhere to the regulations of the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) before marketing their products in the market.

  • Dietary supplements are not taken to cure any disease. It is just taken orally in the form of a capsule, liquid, or powdered form to enhance the nutrients and mineral intake in the body.

  • Medicines are covered by insurance companies depending on the insurance plan, but supplements are not covered, and the cost needs to be borne by the person buying them.

More than one-third of people in America take dietary supplements, and people from 35+ years start consuming them to give the right accessories to their bodies.

The dietary supplements market is booming at a higher speed, and the CAGR is projected to reach 8.12% between 2022 and 2030, with 328.8 billion USD by 2030.

People consume different dietary supplements depending on their food habits, location, and reported status of health conditions. A complement of Vitamin D is taken to accomplish the obligatory levels for a person staying in a frigid climate. For someone who is vegetarian B12 levels are usually low, and supplements are added to the diet to fulfill it.

However, though supplements are not necessarily taken by a doctor’s recommendation, in some instances, one should make it a compulsion to visit the doctor before swallowing it.

It can also be taken when already on medication for certain diseases like diabetes or blood pressure to avoid any reactions against the previously consumed medicines.

Pregnant ladies must not take a chance to consume any dietary supplements before checking up with the doctor to ensure the child’s health in the womb.

Are Dietary Implements Necessary Part of the Diet?

Dietary supplements have taken over people’s minds and hearts and are big businesses in sales. As per professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. JoAnn Manson, “Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet.” Thus, the supplements cannot be taken to substitute the actual diet but are only accepted as an extra addition to the existing diet.

  • Every person has different deficiencies, and just by a recommendation of a friend or by advertisements techniques shown to include them after a certain age, it would not be the right thing to have it unless a full assessment is done to identify if that supplement is required in our body.

  • There is no one dietary supplement that caters to all insufficiency levels. Hence, only after considering aspects of age, nutrition details, ailment (if any), and physical activity of the day is noted, the supplement that is suited to our body should be taken possibly after a consultation with a dietician.

  • A mixed-view approach to the intake of these supplements is found. Even with immense popularity, it isn’t directly proven that the supplements are a sure-shot way to improve current levels. However, on the other side, it is felt that multivitamins, folic acid, and B12 supplements may reduce the risk of certain diseases like stroke or even cancer.

Final Thoughts

Dietary supplements can supposedly fill the gaps in a person’s nutrients. Still, before consuming them, one can try to fill those gaps by consuming natural fruits and vegetables, including curd intake. Despite the efforts, if the insufficiency persists, the correct dosage of the supplements must be taken under the guidance of a nutritionist, dietician, or doctor.