Yes, Dietary Supplements Matter!

Dietary Supplements

Have you ever considered taking dietary supplements? Let’s dive right into the whole debate of whether they are good or bad for you. If we think about supplements in simple grammar, they are additional elements used to amplify, boost, or make something complete. In the context of health and wellness, we are referring to nutritional supplements and the ample benefits they offer from bridging nutritional gaps, detox to weight management.

Many of us take supplements not just to make up for what we're missing, but also because we hope to give ourselves an extra health boost as a preventive buffer to ward off disease. A healthy diet should provide a good amount of nutrients that the body needs but supplements can help ensure that we are getting a healthy serving of numerous vitamins and trace minerals. So yes, they are good for you only if you take the right ones!

It’s important to highlight that there are two types of dietary supplements; synthetic and nutritional. Synthetic supplements contain chemical compounds that are not meant for human consumption and do not exist in nature. They are isolated nutrients artificially made through an industrial process. The foundation of healthy eating lies in the need to consume foods that are closest to their natural state, not those made through an industrial process with chemical elements. So we need to stay far away as possible from synthetic supplements.

Nutritional supplements, on the other hand, contain the right quantities of naturally occurring vitamins and trace minerals derived directly from plant sources, not anything produced in a test tube. If you want to get the most out of nutritional supplements, it’s important to know what roles they play. Aloe Vera based supplements have been proven to have ample benefits such as boosting the immune system, aiding in healthy digestion, promoting oral hygiene, maintaining healthy skin & hair, enhancing energy levels, and aiding in weight management.

Do I need vitamin supplements?

Most people don't need to take vitamin supplements and are able to get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients, such as iron, calcium and vitamin C, that your body needs in small amounts to work properly.

Many people choose to take supplements, but taking too much or taking them for too long could be harmful. The Department of Health recommends certain supplements for some groups of people who are at risk of deficiency. These are described below.

Folic acid supplements in pregnancy

All women thinking of having a baby should have a folic acid supplement, as should any pregnant woman up to week 12 of her pregnancy. Folic acid can help to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Read more about vitamins, supplements, and nutrition in pregnancy.

Vitamin D supplements

Some groups of the population are at greater risk of not getting enough vitamin D, and the Department of Health recommends these people take daily vitamin D supplements.

These groups are:

  • all babies from birth to 1 year of age (including breastfed babies, and formula-fed babies who have less than 500ml a day of infant formula)

  • all children aged 1 to 4 years old

  • people who are not often exposed to the sun – for example, people who are frail or housebound, are in an institution such as a care home, or usually, wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors

For the rest of the population, everyone over the age of 5 years (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) is advised to consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

But most people aged 5 years and above will probably get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the summer (late March/early April to the end of September), so you might choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.

Read more information about vitamin D.

Supplements containing vitamins A, C, and D

All children aged 6 months to 5 years should take a supplement containing vitamins A, C, and D. This is a precaution because growing children may not get enough of these vitamins, especially those not eating a varied diet – for example, fussy eaters.

Ask your health visitor for advice, or read more information on vitamins for children.

Your GP may also recommend supplements if you need them for a medical condition. For example, you may be prescribed iron supplements to treat iron-deficiency anemia.

Fizzy (effervescent) tablets: salt advice

Effervescent vitamin supplements or effervescent painkillers can contain up to 1g of salt per tablet. Consider changing to a non-effervescent tablet, particularly if you have been advised to watch or reduce your salt intake.

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