Are Dietary Supplements Good For Health And Well-Being?
Dietary supplements containing vitamins, trace elements and all kinds of “drugs” mainly herbal are almost always superfluous for healthy people, according to the unanimous opinion of experts. However, they can be very useful in cases of increased need for these elements or for certain diseases.
What are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are ways to supplement food intakes. They consist of vitamins, trace elements, minerals, amino acids and dietary fibers or plant components. They are often offered in drug form with an individual type or to mix dosage.
Although they often look like medications, dietary supplements are not considered to be such, but rather as foods. Under current regulations, dietary supplements, whether they are detox supplements or other types of foodstuffs, cannot be used for therapeutic purposes.
When are dietary supplements useful?
In some cases, the intake of dietary supplements may be helpful for healthy people.
- During pregnancy: Pregnant women have an increased need for folic acid. Folic acid belongs to the B vitamin group and is essential for many processes in the body. It is essential for blood formation, cell development and division as well as for protein and fat metabolism. A deficiency of folic acid is particularly harmful for the unborn child. As a result, embryonic development may be impaired and there is an increased risk of abnormalities on the neural tube. In such a case, babies are born with spina bifida or an open back. This can be avoided with dietary supplements.
- On a vegan diet: vegans sometimes suffer from a lack of vitamin B12, as vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal foods. However, this vitamin is necessary for the formation of blood. A deficiency can lead to anemia, but it can be compensated by dietary supplements. Other possible areas of application of dietary supplements are vitamin D or iodine deficiency.
What diseases or disorders may require dietary supplements?
Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or gluten intolerance (celiac disease) hinder the absorption of nutrients via the intestine. Dietary supplements can increase the intake of these nutrients.
Vitamin K deficiency is a problem for people with low levels of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) in their blood. VLDL is an important transport protein for vitamin K. Without vitamin K, potentially fatal bleeding can occur.
Night blindness is often caused by vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A intake by dietary supplements often improves vision in the dark.
Taking vitamin D supplements can help patients with long hospital stays or residents of a still home. Vitamin D deficiency is promoted by a lack of daylight.
Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps that disappear quickly with an increase in magnesium intake via certain dietary supplements.
Liver cirrhosis or chronic kidney failure, strict diets or alcoholism often lead to a general vitamin deficiency. These people can rebalance this deficiency through nutritional supplements.