Dietary supplements, often containing vitamins, are used to ensure that adequate amounts of nutrients are obtained on a daily basis, if optimal amounts of the nutrients cannot be obtained through a varied diet. Scientific evidence supporting the benefits of some vitamin supplements is well established for certain health conditions, but others need further study. In some cases, vitamin supplements may have unwanted effects, especially if taken before surgery, with other dietary supplements or medicines, or if the person taking them has certain health conditions. Dietary supplements may also contain levels of vitamins many times higher, and in different forms, than one may ingest through food.
There have been mixed studies on the importance and safety of dietary supplementation. A meta-analysis published in 2006 suggested that Vitamin A and E supplements not only provide no tangible health benefits for generally healthy individuals but may actually increase mortality, although two large studies included in the analysis involved smokers, for which it was already known that beta-carotene supplements can be harmful. Another study published in May 2009 found that antioxidants such as vitamins C and E may actually curb some benefits of exercise. While others findings suggest that evidence of Vitamin E toxicity is limited to specific form taken in excess.
A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals,fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet. Some countries define dietary supplements as foods, while in others they are defined as drugs or natural health products.
Supplements containing vitamins or dietary minerals are included as a category of food in the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety. These texts are drawn up by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an organization that is sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
What are the benefits that you can get from nutritional supplements?
First of all, supplements help you overcome nutritional deficiencies. We need all the nutrients in their proper amounts for optimum health. Since our diets most likely can not provide all of them, nutritional supplements can fill in those gaps.
Nutritional supplements also help boost our immune system. The stronger your immune system, the more resistant your body can be against disease. You probably know that popping a tablet or two of Vitamin C can help you avoid colds and related illnesses. This is exactly how useful supplementation is.
Nutritional supplements are also useful in getting rid of the toxins which we horrendously take in everyday. The environmental stresses we go through, chemicals we are in touch with, as well as our lifestyle – these all subject us to harmful toxins which can lead to serious health problems. Supplements, most especially anti-oxidants, can help our body keep toxins to a minimum.
There are much more benefits that nutritional supplements can provide. The main point is that these supplements help you have the optimum health you deserve and minimize the risk of diseases.