There is no shortage of supplements available on the market nowadays. You’ve got everything from protein powders to creatine to multivitamin supplements, and there are plenty of brands to choose from in each of these categories.
Some of you may already take supplements on a regular basis, and some of you might never have touched a supplement before. Either way, you might be wondering how supplements actually help and why they are so important.
In this article, we are going to cover what a supplement is and how various supplements may help you in a number of ways.
What is a Dietary Supplement?
A dietary supplement is produced by manufacturers to supplement somebody’s normal diet. In some cases, supplements can be used as meal replacements, such as with weight loss shakes. However, in this article, we’re going to focus on supplements as an addition to a healthy diet.
Supplements can be taken as a pill, tablet, capsule, liquid, or powder. They often contain one or more isolated nutrients in a specific dosage, which will be stated on the label.
You can take more than one supplement at once for multiple needs. However, it’s important to note that some supplements can contraindicate with each other, meaning they affect how the way the other supplements are absorbed and used in the body.
Why Might You Need to Take Dietary Supplements?
There are many reasons why dietary supplements could be beneficial. Doctors and dietitians may prescribe supplements for a patient to avoid nutritional deficiencies or improve overall health and well-being. Indeed, the NHS now recommend that all people take Vitamin D3, throughout the darker months.
Many people also choose to buy supplements without the help or guidance of a health professional because they want to avoid or reverse nutritional deficiencies or boost their energy levels.
Here are four of the main reasons why you might need to take dietary supplements.
1. Nutritional Deficiencies
There are a number of reasons why you might be deficient in one or more nutrients. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Eating foods that have been grown in depleted soils, where there are fewer minerals.
- Eating foods that have been transported a long distance, which causes some of the nutrients to be lost during transportation.
- Eating a diet that is high in processed foods.
- Eating a diet that excludes one or more food groups, such as vegetarianism, veganism, or the ketogenic diet.
- Underlying health conditions that impact the metabolism and absorption of certain nutrients, or an eating disorder that involves significant food restriction.
There are many reasons why you might have inflammation in your body and it can be both acute and chronic. Usually, it’s chronic inflammation that needs addressing, as this type of inflammation can lead to a range of health conditions, including digestive troubles or heart disease.
Supplements that contain ginger, turmeric, matcha, and ashwagandha are known to reduce inflammation in the body. If the issue stems from the gut, prebiotic and probiotic supplements can be beneficial to balance out the gut microbiome and lower inflammation.
3. Fatigue & Slumps
As with inflammation, there are many reasons why you might feel low in energy, such as stress, hormonal imbalances, or nutritional deficiencies.
Many phytonutrients have been shown to modulate immune function to lower the levels of inflammatory proteins in the body. Supplements, such as multivitamins, B vitamin complex, and some natural herbs, are great to fight fatigue and boost your energy levels.
Alongside supplements, improving your sleep quality and quantity, and reducing your workload can also be helpful to reduce your fatigue.
4. Hormonal Imbalances
Both men and women can experience hormonal imbalances, which may be caused by underlying health conditions, physical abnormalities, excess stress, menopause or peri menopause, or inflammation in the body.
Depending on the cause of the hormone imbalance, certain supplements, including B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, can be used to support hormonal regulation and restore homeostasis.
Supplements can sometimes be helpful to reduce deficiencies, restore balance and prevent further health problems. Even if you don’t have a serious underlying health condition, supplements can be a great way to prevent nutritional deficiencies and improve your overall health and well-being.