What are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are just that: they’re meant to supplement the diet. Dietary supplements can include vitamins, minerals, protein powders, probiotics, super greens, herbs, botanicals, enzymes and others. They can be taken by mouth in pill, capsule, tablet powder or liquid form (and even bars) to use in addition to one’s diet.
Do dietary supplements offer any benefits?
In short: yes. Supplements can be a great way to support your body and overall health with one caveat: you should never rely on them exclusively. Supplements are designed to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. They’re never designed to treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical issue. They’re also never designed to “improve” your health. They ARE, however, designed to complement a healthy diet and overall healthy lifestyle. Bottom line: Adding supplements to an already healthy diet and lifestyle can be a powerful complement
Can diet alone ensure adequate nutrition or vitamin and mineral intake?
Ideally, our diets should provide all the nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, we require daily. For many Americans, however, the diet consumed isn’t nutritionally adequate and often comes up short. For example, in years past, it’s been determined that approximately two-thirds of the standard U.S. diet is made up of unhealthy fats and refined sugars providing low or no nutrient density—providing calories but not the amounts of vitamins and minerals needed, including vitamins A, C, D, E and the minerals calcium and magnesium. In that scenario, the remaining one-third of the average diet must somehow compensate for what is lacking. The fact is that the rest of the diet is probably not from nutrient-dense food either and cannot possibly fully meet a person’s nutrient needs. One great way to get more organic vitamins and minerals into your diet is to include nutrient-dense, whole, organic foods. Unlike our standard American diet, nutrient-dense foods can deliver a vitamin-packed and mineral-packed wallop. As an added step, many people use a daily multivitamin to help support adequate nutrient intake. Not all supplements are created equal, however, so be sure to choose wisely. In everything from dosages, Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), to the manufacturing process for supplements, become as informed as possible prior to adding a supplement regimen to your lifestyle. And, as always, you should consult your health professional prior to making any health-related decision.
What kinds of dietary supplements are available?
There are literally thousands of dietary supplements on the market, which should be navigated in an informed way. Your health is that important. You will want to take into account the quality of dietary supplements, manufacturing information, individual needs, supplement facts, dosage or serving size, whether they’re synthetically made or made from foods (food supplements), contain any binders, fillers, flavorings, additives, preservatives or allergens, whether they’re Non-GMO or Organic, and much more. There are all kinds of supplements, including vitamins, minerals, protein powders (such as whey protein, which is often high in branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs), certain extracts, amino acids, omega-3s (including those from fish oil), ginseng, herbs, botanicals, probiotics, enzymes, greens, fiber and much more.
What are some of the most popular dietary supplements?
This answer can vary from year to year or survey to survey, but a few years back, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) released a survey that indicated that approximately 68 percent of all adults in the U.S. report taking dietary supplements on a regular basis. As part of the survey, CRN asked respondents what type of supplements they take. They were: Vitamins and Minerals: Multivitamins, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamins B or B Complex Specialty Supplements: Omega-3s, Fiber, Soil Based Probiotics, Glucosamine/Chondroitin, and CoQ10 Herbals and Botanicals: Green tea, Garlic, Echinacea and Ginseng Sports Nutrition and Weight Management: Bone broth protein supplements, Collagen Protein, thyroid support, Energy drinks and gels, Green Coffee, and Hydration drinks and gels