Dietary supplements – Pros and Cons

Whether we should be taking dietary supplements or not? It is a hot debate these days. Nutritional experts are divided in their opinion on the subject. Some experts entirely believe in taking balanced enough diet that can cater for all our nutritional demands without resorting to any nutritional supplements. .On the flip side, another school of thought profess supplementing normal diet with artificial nutrients (since they believe, average human diet is not balanced enough to cater for all nutritional needs). Which school of thought you follow is entirely a personal choice.

This article is designed to assist you in making an informed choice on using dietary supplements or otherwise. General understanding of the pros and cons of dietary supplements usage is a good base to decide. Let’s first understand what are dietary supplements?

The dietary supplements are various types of minerals, vitamins, herbs and energy boosting enzymes. They occur naturally in wide range of foods and play a vital role in regulating body functions and maintaining general wellness. Serious deficiency of these elements can cause even life-threatening conditions.

Owing to unhealthy life style and intake of unhealthy food, a large proportion of adult population is deficient in essential vitamins and minerals (Vitamin-D, Calcium, Iron etc). So, it is important to add supplements to your diet (either by natural diet or artificial supplements). Here are the pros and cons.

Pros

  1. Supplementation is a good way to add extra nutrition to your diet (especially the high-risk group e.g. pregnant women and elderly).
  2. Despite the expert opinion conflict, there is still credible evidence that dietary supplements help in overcoming nutritional deficiencies. Drug regulatory authorities allow their administration and usage all over the world.
  3. Modern life style leaves most humans prone to unbalanced diet and resultant nutritional imbalances. Dietary supplements are a good way to ensure that you have balanced intake of nutrition essential for efficient body functioning.
  4. . Dietary supplements are a “quick fix” solution in case of serious deficiencies and illness. A patient might have to take huge volumes of food to overcome acute deficiencies. A supplement pill can help in overcoming such deficiencies in far lesser time.

Cons

  1. FDA does not approve supplement intake like medicine and advise exercising caution in regular usage.
  2. Dietary supplements (in most cases) need to be taken in combination with other elements to ensure their optimal effect. For example, for Vitamin-D absorption, you must have ample amounts of Vitamin-C gained through natural diet. For optimal effects, dietary supplements need to be taken with care which may be difficult to manage for an average user.
  3. Quality supplements are expensive. Regular use can seriously dent an average wallet.
  4. Some supplements can be addictive in nature. Supplement dependence can be a serious hazard with negative serious effects with prolonged usage.
  5. Excess of supplementation (owing to self-medication without expert advice) can cause vitamin toxicity.
  6. Dietary supplements are chemically prepared substitutes of natural compounds and minerals. They can be unsuitable for certain body types and cause allergic reactions under specific conditions.

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