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Do Dietary Supplements really work?

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Often, when looking for the right supplements to boost health, we might have pondered over the question, “Do dietary supplements really work?” The answer is conflicting since some supplements do work while others don’t. They work in some cases and do not work in others.

Most importantly, nutritional deficiencies are not just a third world problem. They are prevalent across the globe: chronic in some populations while borderline in others.

Interestingly, unless there are significant symptoms pointing out to micronutrient deficiencies, it is extremely difficult to find out whether you are lacking certain vitamins or minerals in the diet. Thus, it is crucial to understand what you need to supplement based on your lifestyle, diet, age, gender, etc. Here are some factors that contribute to nutrient deficiencies:

1. Diet

We know our diet needs to have enough multivitamins and minerals. Nutrients play a critical role in various energy metabolism pathways of the body. B vitamins, for instance, are required for various essential cell functions.

Therefore, the role of vitamins and minerals is critical for maintaining healthy body functions and not just coming to rescue when deficiencies are diagnosed. Lower levels of certain micronutrients can cause chronic fatigue, poor metabolism, and lead to suboptimal physical and mental performance even before individuals start showing symptoms of chronic deficiencies.

You can avoid deficiencies by simply incorporating a multivitamin and mineral supplement in your daily regime.

Studies have shown that supplementation enhances carbohydrate oxidation and increases energy expenditure.

Also, many of us might not be getting proper sleep due to a lack of minerals like magnesium. A multivitamin and mineral supplement takes care of these worries. However, they can’t treat chronic insomnia. Dietary supplements work to prevent the disease rather than cure it.

2. Lifestyle

Most of us who work mostly indoors do not get enough sun. Vitamin D deficiency is very prevalent in populations that do not have enough exposure to sunlight.

Modern people’s lifestyles with busy schedules, frequent travel, etc. can be attributed to causing issues like lack of sleep, high stress, very high exposure to blue lights, etc. There are supplements backed by science or ancient wisdom that can help manage these conditions, though.

3. Gender and Age

Iron deficiency (ID) is the most common micronutrient deficiency worldwide with >20% of women experiencing it during their reproductive lives. As for both males and females, they are undergoing a lot of physiological changes due to aging process.

With progressing age, there are changes that happen to the body ranging from changes to skin, bone and joints. These changes start as early as 30 years of age in certain cases. While supplementation cannot totally reverse the age-related changes, it can certainly slow down certain changes. Moreover, it can help manage these changes before they manifest as serious issues.

The available evidence suggests that calcium given with vitamin D supplementation leads to a reduction in the risk of future fracture, and that the evidence is most robust for those individuals at high risk of deficiency in these nutrients.

Apart from these examples, there are supplements that are helpful for managing overall well-being.

There is a lot of science behind such supplements and these are even prescribed by medical professionals in certain cases.

For instance, the role of DHA/ Omega 3 in brain development in kids and cardiovascular health in adults is well established.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also proven to protect the heart by reducing the most common risks associated with cardiovascular disease, including high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels and factors that contribute to the coagulation of blood.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to significantly reduce the risk for sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality in patients with known coronary heart disease.

The role of Vitamin C and Zinc supplements has been well established to boost immune response.

Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Zinc has been clinically shown to help reduce the duration of the common cold.

All these supplements are formulated in accordance with various dietary requirements of the general population. Hence, they ensure that they cater to balance most of the dietary micronutrient intake. On the other hand, the formulations are well within the higher limits to ensure that there is no risk of overdosing micronutrients.

The Final Word

If there is so much credible science behind the supplements, why is there a debate on the efficacy or relevance of supplementation? Do dietary supplements really work? The key reasons for the debate is lack of common knowledge on supplement intake, how long to consume for, conditions where some ingredients need to be avoided, other supplementary changes to be made to compliment the supplementation.

Thus, it is advisable to seek expert advice before selecting the supplements for you.

When taken under expert advice and consultation, supplements can certainly help you maintain and improve your quality of life and help you be your body best. To get advice on your unique supplements needs fulfilled by the best brands available in Singapore from the comfort of your home, click here to start your assessment