Can Food Supplements Keep You Healthy?

Many people take food supplements, believing that they can get the nutrients their bodies need. However, this is not necessarily true. It is necessary to take food supplements if you have a deficiency of a particular nutrient which the body cannot produce, process, or absorb from food. These usually happen during diseases, such as enzyme deficiency. But if you do not have any disorder, you can usually get all the nutrients you need from eating different kinds of food.

You can still be healthy without taking any food supplement if you eat a balanced diet. You can get carbohydrates from grains and cereals. Meat, fish and legumes can provide you adequate amounts of protein and fat. Different kinds of fruits and vegetables give you a lot of vitamins and minerals. Eating these regularly can maintain a healthy body without the help of any food supplements.

Another idea that people usually believe about food supplements is protection against diseases. Some antioxidant supplements claim that they can prevent cancer. However, new researches say that some supplements do not really help in preventing cancer. Some can cause even more risks. Experts say that the best way to prevent cancer is to eat foods that are naturally rich in antioxidants, such as citrus fruits and green vegetables.

Other antioxidant supplements say that they can prevent heart disease. Researchers say that antioxidant supplements do not show any protective property against heart disease. These supplements are also not helpful in people who already have heart disease.

Taking calcium supplements for osteoporosis may not be true for everyone. The cause of osteoporosis is multifactorial. It occurs due to lack of calcium, low estrogen levels, and varies according to gender, weight, genetic factors, and race. Therefore, it cannot be treated with only taking calcium supplements. In addition, milk and dairy products are still the best sources of calcium.

Another reason not to take supplements when not needed is that it can be dangerous to your health. Supplements contain more than the recommended amounts of nutrients, and may be potentially dangerous to your health if taken in excessive amounts. Overdose of supplements can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and at worse, kidney and liver damage. In addition, food supplements may be dangerous when taken during certain conditions. For instance, vitamin E can make the blood thinner; therefore, it must not be taken before undergoing any surgery.

Taking food supplements is only for certain people. Those who need to take supplements are people who have diseases causing difficulty in meeting their nutritional needs, elderly, and infants. Specific food supplements such as iron and folic acid should also be given to pregnant women.

If you still want to take food supplements, you may want to consult your doctor first. There may be dietary alternatives which can be more beneficial than taking any food supplement.

In choosing a food supplement, you must be always cautious. Make sure that you read the labels. As much as possible, avoid supplements that have very high doses of nutrients. Do not also easily believe supplements that claim that they can cure all types of diseases. Remember that food supplements only help in managing the disease, not curing it. Always remember that food supplements are not alternatives to medicines.