Food supplements: which ones do your body need?
Food supplements, also called dietary or nutritional supplements, are a good foundation for one’s health. It is used to deliver nutrients that one lacks in their body, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
What are food supplements?
Food supplements are capsules, tablets, or syrups which contain essential nutrients. Food supplement drugs are available in a wide range of doses, combinations, and formulations. They are taken because some people lack a certain nutrient or need more of it in their body.
What are the types of food supplements?
Food supplements come in many different types, including natural, synthetic, and a combination of the two called semi-synthetic. They can also be categorized according to the substance they contain (botanicals, vitamins, fatty acids, proteins, amino acids, etc.).
- Natural food supplements come completely from natural sources, such as plants, animal tissues, and inorganic materials like rocks.
- Semi-synthetic food supplements come both natural sources but are chemically altered to be more effective. Typically, these changes are very minimal and the basic nutrients they contain are the same.
- Synthetic food supplements are created in a lab, as some nutrients can only be synthetically produced.
What are the benefits of food supplements?
Food supplements provide users with extra that one may not get from their diet completely. Food supplements are also important for those with certain health conditions (like cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis) which can trigger a deficiency.
Food supplements can also, conversely, help prevent nutrient deficiency-related diseases.
What food supplements should I take?
Different people need different nutrients, depending on their body’s needs. For instance:
- People over the age of 50 need vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, and a multivitamin
- Pregnant women or those looking to get pregnant need to take folic acid, vitamin D, and possibly iron
- Children under the age of 5 need vitamins A, C, and D
- Vegans and vegetarians need vitamin B12, vitamin D2, and iron
Apart from the essential nutrients, other popular and helpful food supplement capsules are:
- Fish oil
- St. John’s wort
- Saw palmetto