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Mythbuster: Dietary supplements are necessary to be healthy

Researchers have discovered that excessive ingestion of some of these supplements could have the opposite impact from what they intended, whereas nutrients through food may be connected to decreased chances of mortality. The number of total nutrients consumed rises as a result of supplement use.


Vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes are examples of dietary supplements. They are offered by suppliers in a variety of formats, such as pills, capsules, powders, and liquids. Calcium, fish oil, and vitamin D are typical dietary supplements.


Dietary supplements shouldn't take the place of entire meals, which are crucial for the body's hydration. It's a good idea to consult with medical professionals before deciding whether to take supplements. The equilibrium between nutrients from meals and supplements can be achieved with the assistance of doctors.


Active chemicals in many supplements can also have potent biological effects. Combining supplements, taking too much of particular supplements, notably vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron, or mixing supplements with medications are all potentially dangerous or even fatal behaviours.


Reading labels and learning about the company are critical when purchasing supplements in the US. Action must be taken by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against adulterated or mislabeled supplements, but only after the goods are put on the market.


Benefits of supplements:


A balanced diet often allows you to obtain all the nutrients you require. However, when your diet is deficient in particular nutrients or when illnesses like cancer, diabetes, or persistent diarrhoea cause a deficiency, supplements can help.


Supplements for specific nutrients are available, generally at amounts higher than those found in a normal multivitamin. These can be used to cure a deficit, like a lack of iron, or lower the risk of developing a disease, like hypertension.


The "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol can be increased, for instance, by taking large doses of vitamin B3 (niacin), whereas folic acid has long been used to lower the incidence of the birth defect spina bifida. Vitamins C and E, two antioxidants, may lessen the harmful effects of chemotherapy medications, enabling patients to tolerate higher dosages of the treatment.


If you eat well and exercise often, a supplement is typically not required unless a specific deficit is found. The proper usage of supplements might assist you in avoiding the negative effects and toxicities brought on by excessive use.


Risks of supplements:


Nutritional supplements are not subject to the same level of regulation as prescription medications in the US. Manufacturers are not required to substantiate their products' effectiveness or safety. Before being sent to store shelves, nutritional supplements aren't even evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


The FDA does keep a record of contaminated or potentially hazardous supplements that are sold under that name. The worst offenders are often bodybuilding supplements, "natural" sex enhancers, and weight reduction aids.


Manufacturers of dietary supplements must adhere to particular labelling regulations, especially what they may and cannot state about the advantages claimed. Even though there is scant scientific evidence to back up the makers' claims that their product may raise the immune system or treat arthritis, they continue to make these false claims. In general, the FDA only responds to the most significant violations.


Among the supplements that might be dangerous are:

a) Vitamin K, which might lessen how well blood thinners work

b) Gingko, which can make blood more prone to clotting

c) John's wort, which can reduce the effectiveness of various medications, including birth control pills and antidepressants

d) Comfrey and kava herbal supplements might harm your liver

e) Beta-carotene and vitamin A can raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.




It's crucial to consider if the possible advantages exceed the hazards before using any supplements for illness prevention. You must examine the findings of well-constructed research to reach that conclusion. A recent randomised experiment in males revealed that multivitamins may help prevent cancer.


Be cautious when utilising supplements. Ask your doctor if you need to supplement your diet if you don't get enough of a certain vitamin. However, you shouldn't take beyond the daily recommended amount of a vitamin unless your doctor specifically instructs you to do so.


Medanta Medical Team
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