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Vitamins & supplements
Dietary supplements, also known as food or nutritional supplement, refer to vitamins, minerals, herbs, essential fatty or amino acids, intended to supplement a person’s diet and provide nutrition for maintaining health and overall wellbeing. Acting as an alternative to medicines, these supplements fill up the deficiency or complete absence of necessary ingredients in a person’s diet, which further helps in preventing various health related problems.
These come in form of pills, capsules, powders and juices.
Not only they provide nutrition to the body but they are also used to target individual needs, health conditions and holistic health. Factors that decide the choice of right supplement are:
- Health conditions
The range of supplements target various health issues are:
Weight management Supplements
Hair, skin and nail Supplements
Healthy food (beverages, snacks, powders, etc)
Health Supplements: Essential Ingredients
Vitamins- Vitamins are micronutrients required by the body to sustain its basic biochemical functions and deficiencies of any one these can lead to illnesses and diseases.
Minerals- Minerals are micronutrients that are essential for proper functioning of the body. They are of two types- Bulk minerals and Trace minerals. Bulk minerals are those which are required by the body in larger amounts and include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus while Trace minerals are those required in relatively smaller amounts and they include iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, chromium, copper, manganese, etc.
Herbs- Herbal supplements are added in the diet for two main purposes- providing nutrition and for medicinal purposes. These assist in overall health of a person and also in healing of specific conditions. For instance, Ginseng is used as a tonic to increase overall health and vitality. These supplements are available in various forms such as capsules and tablets, tinctures, teas, syrups, and ointments.
Essential Fatty acids- Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs are basic fats that can’t be synthesized by a human body and so they must be obtained through diet for providing nutrition to the body. EFAs are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from Linoleic, Linolenic and Oleic acids. There are two main categories of EFAs: Omega-3 and Omega-6. They support the immune, cardiovascular, reproductive and nervous systems of a body.
Essential Amino acids- Also called as indispensable amino acids, essential amino acids are the ones that cannot be synthesized by humans in the body and therefore must be derived from the diet. Deficiency of any one of these restricts the process of protein synthesis.
Health Supplements: Need
Due to reduced content of essential ingredients in the diet, one needs these food supplements to provide necessary nutrition to the body. Some of the reasons for the deficiency of the nutrient content in the regular diet are:
- Soil depletion
- Hybrid crops
- Use of modern fertilizers
- Use of chemical pesticides and herbicides that has a toxic effect on food
- Use of food additives
- Weak digestion and poor eating habits spoiling the absorption of nutrients
- Stressed lifestyle
Following a diet lacking in certain nutrients, leads to the risk of developing infections and infectious diseases and weakening the immune system. It can also cause problems relating to the brain, body tissues, functioning of the nervous system, and growth and development of the body.
Health Supplements: Purpose
Dietary or nutritional supplements are added to the diet for:
- Providing nutrition to the body
- Boosting overall health and energy levels
- Providing support to the immune system
- Reducing the risk of illnesses
- Improving the performance in athletic and mental activities
- Supporting the healing process during illness