Understanding Supplements: Are They Safe?

Author: Dr. Kent Bradley
Vitamin C on wooden table.

Supplements: Filling The Gap For Your Nutritional Needs
It goes without saying – good nutrition is the key to achieving good health and well-being. In an ideal world, we would all get this required nutrition fully from our diet. However, the reality is that often we neglect having nutritious food intake and practising a healthy lifestyle. Hence, diet intake alone may not be enough for your nutritional needs. This is where dietary supplements can come in and help fill the missing gaps.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, supplements are any products you take as an add-on to your diet, including vitamins, minerals, fish oils, herbal supplements, and more. However, the big question is – how necessary are these?

Do We Really Need Supplements?
Most of the population do not get the right amounts of macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients in their daily meal intake. With the hectic on-the-go lifestyles of today, we are constantly rushing to our next appointment and grabbing meals in a hurry. Everyone has surely experienced their stomachs growling in hunger, indicating a lack of calories from food.

But while our brain is able to alert us about hunger well, it does not tell us if specific nutrients are missing for optimal body function. Just because you’re feeling full doesn’t mean your body is getting the nourishment it needs!

To help people meet their nutritional needs, health experts recommend supplements which offer functional benefits targeted at different lifestyle types. For example, those who enjoy running can take supplements to boost the body’s production of nitric oxide which supports blood circulation and performance. Meanwhile, those who don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables in their diet can opt for fibre supplements.

Ensuring Supplements Are Safe For You
Countries all over the world have health ministries that maintain guidelines for people to meet daily nutrient requirements, such as Recommended Nutrient Intake or RNI in Malaysia. These recommendations vary according to factors such as age, gender, and life stage. In addition, studies are constantly being conducted to find out the tolerable upper intake levels of nutrients, making sure that supplement amounts do not exceed the safe limit for consumers.

When picking your supplements, it is also a good idea to go for brands that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). This is a set of processing standards that safeguard the identity, purity, quality, strength, and composition of dietary supplements through testing. All of these ensure that the dietary supplement contains what is in the label and is free of contaminants, giving you a worry-free first step in the journey towards better health.

Start Right With Supplements
As nutrition can be complex and unique to each individual’s body, it is encouraged for you to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating supplements to your diet. Take time to understand if you require specific supplements for any medical conditions or to correct pre-existing deficiencies. Always remember to inform your healthcare provider about any supplements that you are currently taking, so that it doesn’t affect any prescribed medication or treatment. And most importantly, read and follow usage instructions and recommended intakes on the product label.

Remember, supplements are not a one-and-done deal – you need to be consistent to reap the benefits. Supplements are meant to support your diet, but you have to play your part too in leading a healthy, active lifestyle.

Disclaimer: All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. This information is not intended to replace the advice of your personal medical profession.

References

·       https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/health-and-wellness/supplements/

·       https://iamherbalifenutrition.com/health-and-wellness/are-supplements-safe/