The Role And Purpose Of Dietary Supplements
By Donovan Baldwin
October 11, 2021
Dietary supplements are big business these days.
Back in the day (showing my age here) you might find some multivitamins, and maybe some iron tonic, such as SSS or Geritol, and maybe some cod liver oil at your local grocery store. That was about it.
However, go to your local Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Target, or Publix, and you will find rows of nutritional supplements. Pick up almost any magazine for the general public, and there is likely to be an article about the wonderful properties of some supplement or another.
So many vitamins and minerals, herbs, or phytonutrients with so many claims! How can the average consumer decide what's real and what's not? Even if the vitamin, mineral, or herb CAN do what's claimed, how can you know that the particular product does? How can you know that the particular manufacturer has formulated and produced a product that actually contains the proper form of the working ingredient in the proper dosage?
Well, on that, all I can say is that the internet is available for all the research you need to do, and you SHOULD do due diligence before trusting all the claims made. There are just TOO MANY such products for me to cover all the products and possiblities without writing a book... a very thick book!
Having said THAT, there ARE a few things to remember about dietary supplements in general.
The single most important thing to remember about any dietary supplement is that second word, "supplement".
Whatever the particular supplement is supposed to be doing, it is supposed to be in addition to sources from your normal nutritional sources. You cannot simply eat anything without discrection, assuming that a pill or powder will supply you with all you need.
You should be getting the bulk of your nutritional needs from real food. The supplement pill you pop should be to provide a safety net in case you didn't get the nutrients you need. They can be nutritonal "spackle", if you will, to fill in holes in your nutritional intake.
Yes, in some cases pills and powders may be the main source of a particular nutrient, either because it is not available, or not available in a high enough dosage, from your diet, or because getting all the nutrients you need would require you to eat extra quanties of food your body doesn't need.
Bottom line, let supplements do their job. Live healthy, exercise, sleep well, enjoy life, get good nutrition, and, if you need to, take a supplement in addition to help you achieve your goals.
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