According to the 2010 Supplement Business Report published by the Nutrition Business Journal, dietary supplements are a 27 billion dollar industry. That is in the United States alone, a pretty impressive number. Botanicals, herbs, meal replacements, vitamins, and minerals fill the shelves of stores from local supermarkets to high-end nutrition shops. Like many other health products, dietary supplements have benefits and drawbacks. Knowing the pros and cons of dietary supplements is highly important so that you make an educated decision when it comes to buying or using them.
Dietary Supplements Pros
Different types of dietary supplements can help prevent certain diseases and other medical conditions. For instance, folic acid taken during pregnancy can help to reduce the risks of the baby developing any birth defects. There are various other dietary supplements that help prevent the risks of simple to serious health conditions.
Nutrient Deficiencies Correction
Nutrient deficiency can lead to severe medical problems like bone fragility, anemia, nervous system abnormalities, and poor immune system. If you have developed nutrient deficiencies such as Vitamin B12 and iron deficiency, dietary supplements can help reverse the medical conditions effects to your general health as well as help to prevent them from developing.
Dietary Supplements Cons
Not A Food Replacement
Dietary supplements are not food replacements. They do not contain the complex constellation of vitamins and nutrients that foods contain, including phytochemicals. These are substances that can be acquired from food, and provide health benefits. Phytochemicals can be obtained from eating whole foods like fruits, grains, and vegetables. If you are taking dietary supplements, it doesn’t mean that you do not need to take the daily recommended servings of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Getting your essential body minerals and nutrients from foods is still better compared to relying on dietary supplements.
The more the better is a rule that is untrue to dietary supplements. Fat-soluble vitamins E, D, and A can accumulate to toxic levels within the body if taken in doses exceeding the recommended daily allowance. It is recommended to take extra precautionary actions when taking more than one dietary supplements to ensure that they will not exceed your daily recommended servings. Also, botanicals and herbs can accumulate to toxic levels if you have underlying healthy conditions including liver disease and chronic kidney.
Some dietary supplements can cause adverse side effects that may interact with your prescription medication. Additionally, serious and even life-threatening drug interactions may occur. Make sure that the dietary supplement you are taking is prescribed by your doctor, or made by a reputable health product manufacturer to ensure that you keep away from potentially dangerous side effects and interactions.