Health supplements, also called as dietary supplements, nutritional supplements, or food supplements, are used to supplement a diet and provide the user with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, etc. that may be missing or not found in good amounts in a person’s diet.
Here, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of health supplements versus real food to find out they if they are really beneficial to a person or not.
Health Supplements: Pros and Cons
Health supplements are promoted because of their actual health benefits. These are products designed to supplement your daily intake of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Sometimes, consuming them happens for a variety of reasons as well. For example, you might want to take health supplements to achieve a fitness goal. These supplements may be comprised of products that can give you more dietary modifications that add vitamins and minerals, calories, and/or protein. But that is not to say that they don’t have risks as well.
1. What about protein supplements?
Protein supplements can give you the right amount of protein your body needs to support tissue maintenance, growth, and improvements to the immune system. Protein supplements are available as shakes, bar, or powders. They can provide you protein of high caliber and boost your daily intake of protein, especially on days when you don’t eat protein-rich foods.
- Protein supplements also provide benefits particular to your needs to help you achieve your fitness goals.
- They can help your muscles recover faster after an intensive workout.
- They are very convenient, and they can be easily used to provide you protein, especially if you don’t have the appetite for a chicken breast for dinner.
- Protein supplements are usually found to be unnecessary, and they can add to your expenses. This is because whole foods are still packed with much more protein than supplements.
- Excessive protein in your body is also not good for your health. Protein supplements can add more calories to your body, which can result in unwanted weight gain.
2. What about vitamin and mineral supplements
Vitamins and minerals supplements can give you the vitamins and minerals needed by your body to support a variety of functions.
- These supplements can help you maintain optimal health, especially if your food consumption is low.
- They can improve a wide range of bodily functions and help maintain your mental health.
- They decrease your risk of vitamin deficiency.
- They help you digest much better.
- They allow a person to get a regular daily intake of essential vitamins, which is especially important for children.
- Excessive vitamins and minerals can have an adverse effect on a person’s overall health.
- Fat-soluble vitamins, for instance, can be contained in your tissue, especially if you take more of them than you need.
- Excess vitamin A can cause congenital disabilities and liver problems.
- Too many minerals, such as calcium, selenium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, are dangerous for the health as they can led to toxicity. Excess iron, for instance, can cause digestive complications, while excess calcium might increase your risk of forming kidney stones.
3. Calorie supplements
Calorie supplements, also called weight gainers, are notable for their benefits of giving a person the ability to increase his lean muscle mass and increase the strength of his muscles as well. These are the supplements commonly used by most bodybuilders to help them build their great physiques. Although these products are proven to be effective, they are not without side effects.
- These supplements can help a person gain muscle mass quickly. They contain a high amount of carbs and proteins that are essential to gaining weight. These supplements contain low amounts of fat so you can rest assured that your weight gain is muscle instead of fat.
- They also contain amino acids that help you acquire lean muscle mass. Calorie supplements contain arginine, which helps the body produce more nitric oxide, which improves the flow of blood to growing muscles.
- These supplements can also give a person energy and stamina to last him through all his training and workouts.
- One common side effect of using these supplements is insomnia. These supplements contain caffeine to give you energy.
- Too much caffeine, however, can keep you up all night.
- These supplements are also shown to cause damage to the kidneys, especially after long-term use.
Real foods hold three main advantages against health supplements, and they
- Promotes greater nutrition. Real foods are complex, and they contain a wide variety of micronutrients that our body needs.
- Rich in essential fibers. Foods such as fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains are rich in essential fibers. These fibers provide tons of benefits to our body like preventing diseases such as heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
- They contain protective substances. There are a lot of foods that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances needed by our body to slow down the natural process of cell and tissue damage.
If you’re considering using supplements along with your diet, talk to your doctor or dietitian, so you’ll know which ones are appropriate for you. Don’t forget to ask your doctor about the possible side effects of the supplements you’re going to use. For more tips and information about health supplements, visit Supplement Investigator.
Trevor Gilligan is a writer contributing pieces for Supplement Investigator. His interests lie in the health and nutrition niche, being a fitness enthusiast himself. Trevor strives to provide creative flair in his articles, which he also ensures are informative and entertaining for his readers. He spends his free time painting.