What are nutritional supplements?
Nutritional supplements are foods that can be used to increase the amount of nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids (fats), vitamins, minerals, and water) in your diet. Nutritional supplements provide these nutrients either as specific products as vitamins , minerals (including trace elements) , antioxidants , amino acids, fatty acids or in combinations of multiple nutrients as multivitamins and multivitamins and minerals . Nutritional supplements also include these natural products known to be rich in many nutrients like bee products ( bee pollen , royal jelly , and bee propolis ) and different herbs .
Why take vitamin, mineral and other nutritional supplements?
Nutritional supplements may help healthy people for a number of reasons. They can help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies when the diet is not adequate to provide all necessary nutrients. They can also provide amounts of nutrients larger than the diet can provide. Larger amounts of some nutrients may help to protect against future disease. Many of these nutrients will be briefly discussed here. However, for more information, refer to individual nutrient articles.
People may consume diets that are deficient in one or more nutrients for a variety of reasons. The typical Western diet often supplies less than adequate amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals.
The importance of nutritional supplements
Of the population, only a small number (about 1% of American adults) receive the proper nutrients required to help fight and prevent diseases. From this statistic, it is evident that nutritional supplements should be more widely used. Supplements are an easy way to get what your body needs without dramatically altering your lifestyle.
Also, there are certain groups of people who need nutritional supplments more. For instance, some of these groups are pregnant women, smokers, people exposed to second-hand smoke, alcohol drinkers, exercisers, and children and adolescents. These groups are at higher level of decreased health and need certain vitamins and/or minerals to cover their nutritional supplements zone.
Taking the right nutritional supplements can help build a person’s immune system. It can help prevent and protect bodies from disease. If you have a particular concern, you should investigate the benefits of each nutrient. However, if you are just looking to strengthen your body in general, then choosing a multi-vitamin with Vitamins C and E, B-Complex vitamins, and D-alpha Vitamins are highly suggested.
Who needs vitamin supplements ?
Whilst a ‘balanced’ diet will in theory supply all the necessary nutrients we need, our busy lifestyles can mean that people do not receive all the nutrients required for good health in the right quantities. Nutritionists recommend eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday. This is often difficult to achieve. The following people may benefit from nutritional supplements:
- Infants and children
- Women preparing for, or during, pregnancy
- Breast-feeding mothers
- The elderly
- Those individuals with limited exposure to sunlight may be at risk from vitamin D eficiency.
- During pregnancy when nutritional needs may be higher
- People whose nutritional status may be compromised by lifestyle either enforced or voluntary, e.g. slimmers, strict vegetarians and vegans, food faddists
- Individuals whose diet is compromised because of illness or because they are following a special or restricted diet.
- People with busy lifestyles who find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.