Should you take dietary supplements and vitamins or not?
The majority of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables: should you take weight loss supplements to avoid these deficiencies?
Why take food supplements and vitamins?
It is often thought that if you eat in a way that avoids specific deficiencies and you are in good health, nutritional supplements are superfluous: you just need to follow the recommendations established by the experts. However, a good fraction of the population does not find sufficient quantities of the necessary nutrients and vitamins in their diet.
Additionally, the majority of us do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, less than the five servings per day needed to stay healthy and prevent disease. To the detriment of foods with high nutritional value, we sometimes prefer treats and neglect broccoli, choose an ice cream or a pastry rather than a fruit and forget the existence of pure water …
With such choices, we sometimes adopt a diet that is not only too high in fat and sugar, but less than ideal in protective vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Hence the interest in turning to dietary supplements to avoid deficiencies.
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1) Food supplements to meet our nutritional needs
According to recent surveys, our diet is often deficient in several minerals and vitamins. In 20% of men, 30% of women and 50% of adolescent girls, the recommended intake of calcium is far from being reached. The same is true for magnesium in over 20% of adults, and for folic acid in 25% of women. Even with a carefully designed nutritionally diet, it is difficult to achieve recommended iron levels, especially for teens and women, and the risk is great for those adopting a vegetarian diet.
In 30% of adults, vitamin E intake is severely insufficient, especially with restrictive or low-fat diets.
Finally, some specific substances – fish oils, soy isoflavones, probiotics, etc. -, considered today to be beneficial for health, may be absent from a balanced diet. If we cannot eat properly every day, it is by taking supplements that we can correct any deficiencies, or even achieve an optimal nutritional intake.
2) Food supplements and vitamins to fill up with antioxidants
Even when you have good eating habits, there may be other reasons why you might want to take supplements. Some scientists believe that the pollutants we are exposed to – exhaust fumes, chemical residues – can cause extensive damage at the cellular level, and even affect the immune system. Some supplements, especially antioxidants, might have the ability to combat such effects.
3) Better prevent disease with food supplements and vitamins
In the past, nutritional deficits were associated only with deficiency diseases such as scurvy (due to lack of vitamin C), beriberi or pellagra (caused by severe deficiencies in B vitamins). But, over the past three decades, countless studies have shown the important role certain nutrients play in preventing the chronic degenerative diseases prevalent in the Western world today.
Some experts believe that nutrients, especially antioxidants, which slow the onset of disease or prevent its development, could also delay the aging process at the cellular level. It should not be concluded from this that vitamin E, selenium or carotenes are elixirs of youth! Still, several studies have found that supplements like vitamin E, or a well-dosed combination of vitamins and minerals, boost immune defenses in older people.
4) Supplements to delay the effects of aging
A survey carried out in the United States by the National Institute of Gerontology among 11,178 elderly people showed that there had been much less “reported” deaths (especially those due to heart problems) in older people. subjects taking vitamin E. In addition, antioxidant supplements have been shown to decrease the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two age-related conditions that cause progressive deterioration of sight.
Selenium, carotenoids, flavonoids and certain amino acids, finally, are among the supplements that can be used as antioxidants against problems associated with aging. Certain substances in plants such as echinacea are known to strengthen the immune system. Phytoestrogens, such as soy isoflavones, may delay or stop the effects of menopause and help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
5) Are supplements to better protect against certain diseases?
Even physicians who are most skeptical of supplements tend to prescribe iron for certain types of anemia, vitamin A for severe acne, and B vitamins for various neuropathies. They also don’t hesitate to recommend fish oils for high cholesterol.
The use of nutritional supplements as a remedy remains a very controversial topic, especially in severe cases. Proponents of classical medicine often question their effects and find it dangerous to rely exclusively on them. However, based on the results of clinical observations and on data published in various publications, other practitioners, who are interested in nutrition and certain alternative therapies, believe that the evidence of their effectiveness is now sufficient to justify its use.
Either way, one should adopt a reasonable attitude and combine conventional drugs and nutritional supplements to cure oneself, but make sure that everything is done under the supervision of a doctor.