Why We Need Dietary Supplements
“Nutrition deficiencies can affect your body’s performance by causing DNA damage, making you age faster and backing chronic illness”
If you were living in earlier times, supplements would not be needed, but considering the stress associated with modernized lifestyles, influence of the West, the poor quality of food and the contact one has with loads of toxins, the body needs the elementary supply of supplements to keep it functioning well.
Most people understand that a balanced diet and wholesome nutrition is important for good health. However, when we hear buzzwords like ‘calcium ‘deficiency’ or ‘vitamin deficiency’ which have been adopted from Western culture, it makes us wonder whether the food we are eating is good enough or not.
The Need For Supplements
The best way to ensure a healthy body is to choose an assortment of nutritious foods from all the five food groups, mainly fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. But reasons such as illness, industrialization or urbanisation can lead to deficient health, causing malnutrition.
Some groups of people who might be at risk of deficiency are pregnant women, older adults, new-born babies and people who are uncertain about food habits.
Nutrition deficiencies can affect your body’s performance by causing DNA damage, making you age faster and backing chronic illness. However, here are a few more reasons why you should consider taking supplements.
- The incorrect farming techniques used these days leads to depletion of nutrients in the soil. Also, the use of fertilizers for harvesting, blocks the production of nutrients in plants.
- The inclination of people towards eating exotic fruits and vegetables over seasonal and local food, is also one of the major reasons for nutrition deficiency. The reason being, longer transit period of the ingredients from the farm to the kitchen, damages the vitamins and minerals of the food.
These factors make it essential for us to follow a more nutrient-dense balanced diet, which is full of quality protein and fats in order to meet the deficiencies that our diet lacks. ‘Dietary supplements’ can be in the form of pills, capsules, powder and liquid comprising of different ingredients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and other useful substances.
Tips To Identify A Good And Bad Supplement
- Always read the label when it comes to choosing a supplement
- The sign of a good supplement can be identified from the labelling.
- A clear label with details of all the ingredients (including any coating or fillings etc.) is a sign of good brand
- The amount of nutrients offered by the supplement, per serving should be mentioned on the label whether it is a vitamin supplement or a protein powder
- Unclear labelling on a product signifies that the nutrients present are not in sufficient quantity and may do no good.
- For example: A good multivitamin must provide you with nearly 100 per cent of the nutritive value of almost all the nutrients
- One should always avoid the products which have ingredients listed under ‘proprietary blends.’ Countless number of brands use this term as this is an easy escape from giving an exact break-up and amount of ingredients offered per serving in the supplement
- One should be sure that the label has quality assurance marking. A standardized product must have a USP certification or NSF label.
- These certifications make sure that the claims made by the label are authentic and there is no adulteration.
- A product can also be verified about being genuine on the FDA website or NIH Dietary supplement office to check whether the product is safe for consumption
- Always see the expiry date printed on the container, If there is no expiry date on the product, it is better on the shelf
- A misspelled or grammatical error in the brand name is the sign of a fake product. Please avoid using such products just to save some money
- At all times, choose to buy a reputable brand to ensure the safety and authentication of the supplement
- Make sure to buy supplements from an authorized dealer. You should also verify with the distributor, if the manufacturing company has a certificate of analysis or if the product is manufactured under good manufacturing practices