Fitness

Do you need to take nutritional supplements? The ultimate checklist

nutritional supplements Posted On
Posted By Emma Aaron

Nutritional supplements can be beneficial for you if you properly ingest them. They can also be harmful and are often unnecessary. All of the nutrients your body needs are easily consumed through a healthy and balanced diet.

Who should take nutritional supplements?

Normally, a healthy and young individual with no pre-existing conditions or restricted diet doesn’t need to take supplements. However, if you fall under one of the following categories, you should probably be taking some supplements:

  • You are (about to get) pregnant. Aside from your pregnancy vitamins, you may need iron and folic acid supplements.
  • You eat a restricted diet. Some dietary restrictions mean that you don’t get enough of a certain vitamin and you will need to take supplements.
  • You are over 50 years old. Your body simply needs a little help absorbing some vitamins, particularly vitamins D and B12.
  • You have a genetic disorder or a health condition. Some conditions and genetic disorders can lead to a decreased intake of some vitamins and minerals that need to be supplemented through other sources.
  • You are an active sportsperson. Sportspersons need higher amounts of certain minerals as the body goes through them at a faster rate. Look into the pre-workout supplements on the market, as well as post-workout ones.
  • You are in recovery. Those who suffer from alcohol addiction or other substance abuse typically have deficiencies of key vitamins and nutrients. While in recovery treatment, they are usually given B, C, and D vitamins, as well as various minerals.

You should always consult your primary care physician, as well as a nutritionist first. Don’t make any of the decisions by yourself.

Effective supplements

Some supplements are more effective than others. There are also outright harmful ones. So carefully look up the side effects and check the scientific research done on any particular supplement you want to take.

Vitamin D

This vitamin strengthens our bones, and its natural source is sunlight, i.e. exposure to the sun. However, there are places in the world where people do not have enough sunlight, so this supplement is beneficial for them.

Omega-3 fatty acids

This type of supplementation is useful for people who do not eat fish. Omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of sudden heart disease. Supplements also help fight inflammation and improve bone and joint density by increasing calcium. 

People who follow a vegan diet should seriously consider taking this supplement. Best vegan multivitamins will supplement the deficiencies in their diet.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is safe to take as a supplement, even in larger doses. It is very effective for people with hereditary vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia. 

It is also good for people who have opted for a vegan diet. They can actually only get vitamin B12 this way.

Protein supplements

If taken in safe amounts, protein supplements are considered beneficial. Whey or soy protein powder contains essential amino acids the body needs to build and rebuild tissue. On the other hand, beef proteins have been shown to be deficient in nutrients.

Collagen

Since your body’s production of collagen starts to decline around the age of 25, it is worth considering the supplemental intake. The collagen protects your skin, hair, and nails, and prevents bone density loss. However, people allergic to fish, shellfish, and eggs should avoid it.

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Useless supplements

While these supplements are popular, they are either high-risk or completely unnecessary if you eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Vitamin C

Many people believe that vitamin C supplements are good for treating colds. However, there isn’t much evidence to support the claim. If you catch a cold, just eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as paprika, oranges, or broccoli.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is important for eyesight. However, vitamin A supplementation, according to research, can have a bad effect on the lungs of smokers. Just eat carrots instead.

Vitamin E

A study has proven that vitamin E supplements can increase the risk of getting prostate cancer, making them more risk than they are worth. Instead of taking supplements, eat spinach, avocados, and nuts.

Fat burners

There is little evidence to support the effects fat burners are said to have on the body. They can however impair liver function and increase the chance of heart attack, so they are best avoided.

Supplements are not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet

Nutritional supplements can be helpful, but they are not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. You should first consider adding a variety of foods to your diet, before reaching for the supplements. Chances are you just lack a proper source of a particular vitamin or mineral in your life. And always check first with healthcare professionals if you should be taking supplements in the first place.

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