There are a variety of different health supplements available on the market today. Depending on the individual’s needs, supplements can provide many potential benefits. Vitamins, calcium and even weight loss remedies are all popular reasons to seek out health supplements. Without proper research, however, these supplements could be dangerous.

What Are Supplements?

Supplements can be found in most grocery stores or pharmacies. They can come in capsules, pill form or chewable depending on how the consumer wants to ingest them. Just because many of these over-the-counter supplements claim they are ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ does not necessarily safe to use on a regular basis.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act describes supplements as a unique class of food. Supplements may contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, enzymes, organ tissues, metabolites and/or extracts. These ingredients may be taken separately or mixed together to be considered a dietary supplement.

Why Do People Use Supplements?

The simplest answer to this question is that most people want to make sure they are receiving enough of the essential nutrients, like biotin, to maintain or even improve their health.

There are specific, reputable sites that can provide a variety of health supplements to prevent and maintain positive health. The experts from PatchMD.com stated that it’s important to understand some of the key roles Biotin plays in our health to understand how it benefits the body. From iron boosting to healthy weight loss, boosting health does not have to be difficult.

Most people need help getting all the recommended vitamins needed to maintain a healthy mind and body. For those trying to lose weight, certain vitamins and nutrients may be skipped for the purpose of restricting calories. By consuming dietary supplements, extra calories can be avoided without forgoing the health benefits received from certain nutrients.

In addition to dieting, the natural aging process also plays a role in nutrient absorption. Breaking down nutrients is more difficult when digestive enzymes are not produced as often. Aging can also increase the likelihood of using medication. Many medications prescribed to an aging population can deplete essential vitamins and nutrients. Dietary supplements can come in handy once the body begins to age.

Dietary supplements are not just for maintaining and boosting health. Some supplements can help prevent possible health conditions from occurring. Many healthcare professionals suggest preventative measures for fighting diseases with dietary supplements.

Researching Health Supplements

Dietary supplements can help provide the proper vitamins and nutrients to the body. By taking preventative measures that can actually increase health in the long run, dietary supplements can prove extremely important. Although these supplements often provide the same nutrients found in everyday food, there can be dangers to taking dietary supplements without prior research.

Before buying an over-the-counter dietary supplement, check the ingredients on the back of the bottle. If you see something that you don’t recognize, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the potential risks and benefits. Although most supplements will do more good than harm, some ingredients can have a strong impact on the body.

Taking dietary supplements while using prescription medication can have side effects. If medication is prescribed, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking a dietary supplement. For those who have prescribed blood thinners, vitamin K can counteract the benefits and actually increase blood clotting. In addition to blood consistency, St. John’s wort can breakdown drugs at a quicker rate than normal. This alone can make certain prescription drugs less powerful.

The use of prescription drugs is not the only reason dietary supplements need to be researched. A lot of the nutrients found in various supplements are already ingested throughout the day. Ingesting too much of these specific ingredients could potentially do damage to the body. Taking more supplements than needed is never recommended. To best keep track of how much you’re ingesting, paying attention to the dosage of a supplement as well as what is naturally eaten throughout the day is an easy way to keep tabs on what enters the body.

Are Supplements All the Same?

Dietary supplements are officially regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as food. If a supplement is not FDA approved, the quality of the dietary supplement may be questionable. By checking the packaging or researching the supplement online, you should be able to see if it has been officially approved by the FDA.

With so many drug stores and websites selling dietary supplements, understanding which product is the highest quality can be difficult. Reading through product reviews online and finding trustworthy brands can make a difference. Labels that claim the supplement is “third party tested” are also a good sign.

Businesses that specialize in dietary supplements are generally thought to be more reputable than businesses that offer many different products as well as supplements or multi-vitamins. A designated business that devotes most of its time to the actual nutrients and design of their supplement is usually more invested in its outcome.

Some supplements have been scientifically tested while others have not. Researching how their science-based research is conducted can shed light on the ethics of a company. Understanding the manufacturer guidelines can help with choices when it comes to the purity or strength of an individual dietary supplement. Popular organizations that provide quality testing include U.S. Pharmacopeia, Consumer Lab and NSF International.

Talking to a doctor before taking health supplements is always recommended for those who are either already taking prescription drugs or for those who may have a health condition. Taking dietary supplements to help heal a health condition that has not been diagnosed can be very dangerous. Nutrient supplements can be essential for the maintenance of good health, but they should not be used as a substitute for prescription medication.

Health supplements can greatly benefit the mind and body. When the body has all of its proper nutrients in the amount that is needed to properly function physically, mental health often increases. The right nutrients can boost energy, manage weight fluctuation and even strengthen bones. When the body feels better, often the mind will follow. Without proper research, however, these same nutrients can potentially damage the body. Talking to a doctor, researching scientific studies through the NSF International and paying attention to labels can all play a crucial role when choosing the right dietary supplement. The reputation of a company is often the deciding factor.

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