Healthy Living

Dietary supplements: types, benefits and risks

Dietary supplements: types, benefits and risks
Written by admin

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Many people take one or more nutritional supplements, which necessarily contain: minerals, amino acids, herbs, and enzymes…either in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, or other formulations. To learn about the types of nutritional supplements, their benefits, and potential risks, in addition to their types and methods of use, continue reading the following article:

Nutritional supplements

Nutritional supplements

What are nutritional supplements?

according Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dietary supplements are a way to support and supplement your diet. Unlike medicines, they are not prescribed to treat or prevent disease.

Common nutritional supplements include: vitamins (multivitamins, vitamins such as vitamin D and biotin), minerals (calcium, magnesium, and iron), plant compounds (caffeine and curcumin), amino acids, and probiotics.

forms of nutritional supplements

Whatever the form of dietary supplement, be it a pill, liquid, powder or tablet, the primary goal is to help To improve general health, in addition to meeting the daily requirements of essential nutrients. for example:

  • Calcium and Vitamin D help build strong bones.
  • Fiber helps maintain bowel regularity.

However, always remember that food supplements do not replace a variety of foods that make up a healthy diet.

Most nutritional supplements contain at least one nutrient, such as:

  • vitamins.
  • minerals.
  • herbs.
  • amino acids.
  • enzymes.

Some other popular nutritional supplements include:

  • fish oil.
  • calcium.
  • Vitamin D.
  • Ginseng (contributes to: improving thinking, increasing the ability to focus, eliminating stress).
  • Echinacea (Dietary supplement for infections, stimulates the immune system).
  • Green tea.
  • the Garlic.

Types of nutritional supplements

There are several types of nutritional supplements, your options vary depending on your body’s needs: multivitamins, single vitamin and mineral supplements, electrolyte solutions, probiotic strains, macronutrient supplements.

1. Vitamins and minerals

The human body needs vitamins and minerals in small amounts in order to function properly. It can be obtained by eating a varied and balanced diet, or by taking additional supplements:

  • Vitamin A.
  • Vitamin D.
  • Vitamin C.
  • B vitamins and folic acid.
  • Vitamin E.
  • Vitamin K.
  • calcium.
  • Iron.
  • iodine.
  • beta carotene.
  • copper.
  • potassium.
  • zinc.

2. Herbs and plants

Herbs, botanicals, or botanical dietary supplements are supplements made from: plants, plant parts, or plant extracts.

These supplements contain one or more ingredients intended to supplement the diet. It is used in traditional and complementary medicine, in the form of capsules, liquids, powders, tablets, or softgels.

Among the most common herbal supplements:

  • Echinacea
  • Green tea extract.
  • garlic extract.
  • Evening primrose oil.

3. Probiotics and prebiotics

Both probiotics and prebiotics have different and important roles for health:

  • A probiotic is live bacteria that provides many health benefits.
  • A prebiotic is a substance that comes from fiber that humans cannot digest, and is important because the beneficial bacteria in the gut feed on this fiber.

Eating a balanced amount of probiotics and prebiotics helps maintain a proper balance of bacteria in order to maintain a healthy gut microbiota.

4. Amino acid and protein supplements

Amino acids, or what is called: the building blocks of proteins, play crucial roles in your body, especially in vital processes such as: building proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters. You can find amino acids in meat, fish, soybeans, and more. You can also take it as a dietary supplement to improve athletic performance or mood.

There are nine essential amino acids, each with their own functions in the body:

  1. Phenylalanine: converted into neurotransmitters.
  2. Valine: helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration, and is involved in energy production.
  3. Threonine: plays an important role in immune function and fat metabolism.
  4. Tryptophan: is a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, mood, and sleep.
  5. Methionine: plays an important role in detoxification and metabolism.
  6. Lysine: helps regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates wound healing, and produces growth hormones.
  7. Isoleucine: Involved in muscle metabolism, hemoglobin production, and energy regulation.
  8. Lysine: acts on calcium absorption, protein synthesis, and the production of hormones and enzymes.
  9. Histidine: Helps produce histamine, which is important for many functions including sleep-wake cycles.

5. Enzymes and specialty supplements

If you have an enzyme deficiency, you may need to take prescription digestive enzymes. Enzymes and specialty supplements help the body: process food, absorb nutrients.

Uses of nutritional supplements

Many people take nutritional supplements while getting enough nutrients from their diet! Thus, we find that most of those who take the supplement do not actually need it.

The following are uses for nutritional supplements, or situations in which a person may need nutritional supplements:

  • Pregnancy and lactation period.
  • Older people who do not get enough nutrition from food (malnutrition).
  • A health condition that makes the body unable to absorb the nutrients it needs (ex: chronic kidney disease).
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Not eating some foodstuffs, such as: meat.
  • Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Anemia.

What are the risks of nutritional supplements?

Anything that has an intended benefit also has side effects! Thus, nutritional supplements also have risks, including the following cases:

  • Supplements when taken in high doses or in place of prescribed medications cause side effects.
  • Taking many different nutritional supplements causes harm.
  • Some supplements increase the risk of bleeding.
  • If taken before surgery, it can change your response to anesthesia.
  • Supplements can interact with medications and cause some problems.
  • Vitamin K may reduce the blood-thinning ability of warfarin.
  • St. John’s wort (effective in treating mild or moderate depression) may reduce the effectiveness of many medications, including: antidepressants, birth control pills, heart medications, and anti-HIV medications.
  • Vitamins C and E reduce the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy.
  • Too much vitamin A causes headaches, liver damage, weakening of bones, and birth defects.
  • High doses of iron cause: nausea, liver damage.
  • Caution should be exercised when taking nutritional supplements during pregnancy or lactation.
  • Be careful about giving nutritional supplements to a child.

Frequently asked questions that may interest you

Among the most frequently asked questions about dietary supplements:

Are nutritional supplements safe?

No, dietary supplements are not completely safe. They can put you at risk, especially if you are receiving treatment for cancer.

However, when used properly, supplements may help you:

  • Reducing the risk of some diseases.
  • Reducing discomfort caused by certain conditions or medications, thus improving your quality of life.


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