Why You Should Take Supplements

Q&A About Supplements: The Reasons For Taking Them

Dietary supplements are a multibillion dollar industry worldwide! Men, women and children take these health-related products at various times of their lives, oftentimes on a daily basis, with the intention of promoting better mental and physical health. 

But this begs the question: What are the reasons why you should take supplements? Keep on reading and find the answers because, indeed, you may also benefit from taking them! 

Why Do We Need Supplements?

Keep in mind that nutritional supplements are like over-the-counter and prescription medicines in the sense that these affect your body’s functions. If possible, you should consult with your doctor first before adding dietary supplements to your diet, although you can also skip it if you’re a relatively healthy person. 

Of course, eating a healthy diet is still the best way for getting the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that your body needs. But even with a healthy diet, you will likely find the right dietary supplement to be useful when you belong to one or more of these categories:

  • People older than 50 years have more difficulty absorbing Vitamins D and B12 and calcium so multivitamin supplements becomes necessary for improved immune function.
  • People with special dietary needs due to an underlying medical condition, food allergies, or lifestyle choices (e.g., vegetarian) may also benefit from a multivitamin supplement. Medical conditions that inhibit nutrient absorption including diseases in the intestines, kidneys, and liver, as well as surgery on the digestive tract.
  • People who don’t eat a healthy diet for any reason, as well as those who miss out on certain nutrients due to their lifestyle habits (e.g., fish oil supplements for people who don’t eat 2-3 servings of fish per week).
  • People on medications that may interfere with their bodies’ nutrient absorption will also benefit from nutritional supplements. These include antibiotics, laxatives, antacids, and diuretics.
  • Women who are past their menopause are well-advised to take calcium and Vitamin D supplements to reduce the impact of bone loss. 

So, is it necessary to take supplements? Yes, it may be necessary because the vitamins and minerals in these products boost your nutrient intake! Even children will benefit from taking vitamins, preferably in an easy-to-take form like gummy vitamins.

Also, the next time you’re asking yourself, “Do I need vitamin supplements?” you should think of them as a way to plug in the nutrition gaps that your diet may have, whether you know it or not. Just be sure to continue adopting a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and whole grains even when you’re on a dietary supplement program.

Why Do We Need Supplements?

How Should You Choose Supplements?

But go beyond the question of why you should take vitamins because there’s also the important aspect of how to make the right choice.

  • Determine the nutrients that may be lacking in your diet. Choose the nutritional supplement that will address such gap, such as Vitamin D and calcium supplements if you’re not into dairy products.
  • Ask your doctor for recommendations about the best supplements for your unique health needs. You may need medications for an underlying health condition, for example, along with supplements to plug in the gaps in your nutrition.
  • Always stay within the safe limits of the daily recommended values (DRV) for micronutrients. High levels of vitamins and/or minerals can cause toxicities. Choose a multivitamin supplement that provides either 100 percent or less of the DRV since it’s designed to plug the nutrient gaps only. 

We also suggest taking a daily dose of multivitamin instead of a cocktail of a few or several individual vitamin and mineral supplements. You may exceed the daily values for any of these nutrients in case you choose the latter option. 

Should you take multivitamin every day? Yes, if possible, since your body will require the boost in nutrients even when it’s already healthy after an illness, injury, or surgery. 

How to Choose Supplements

Why Are Specific Supplements Needed?

Let’s take a look at the specific supplements that you may benefit from, as well as the specific situations where these are needed. 

Why should you take prenatal vitamins?

Doctors recommend that pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins.  These supplements contain essential nutrients, particularly iron, calcium, and folic acid, which are essential to the unborn baby’s proper development.  Other nutrients include Vitamins B12, C, and D, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, and iodine. 

“Should I take multivitamin if I eat healthy?” is also a common question among pregnant women. Yes, you must still take supplements because of the increased demands for nutrients by your body. 

Why should you take probiotics?

Probiotics are “good bacteria” that can aid in the maintenance of digestive and immune system health. Microbes in the intestinal tract aid in the proper digestion of food and in the regulation of the immune system including fighting harmful bacteria. But when the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut occurs, such as from the use of antibiotics, the intake of probiotics can restore the balance. 

Why should you take fish oil supplements?

According to numerous studies, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements may help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases particularly in:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing triglycerides
  • Decreasing the risk of abnormal heart rhythm
  • Slowing down the development of arterial plaque

But don’t forget to add 2-3 servings of fish every week to your diet, too, if possible. The recommended fishes are salmon, herring, lake trout, sardines, and tuna. 

Why should you take creatine?

The benefits of creatine are numerous including:

  • Increase in aerobic performance and recovery
  • Increase in bone mineral density
  • Improves glucose metabolism
  • Enhances brain performance including cognitive function
  • Reduces oxidative stress

Creatine is then a good supplement for relatively healthy people, such as for athletes, as well as for people with underlying medical condition where its benefits may improve quality of life. These include people with osteoporosis (i.e., bone mineral density) and diabetes (i.e., glucose metabolism). But check with your doctor first for safety reasons. 

Why should you take magnesium supplements?

According to health experts, many people in the United States aren’t getting sufficient foods with magnesium. Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency in adults have higher chances of having elevated inflammation markers. In turn, inflammation increases the risk of chronic degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Magnesium-rich foods and supplements are then essential in maintaining a healthy mind and body. 

So, why should you take multivitamins even when you’re a relatively healthy person with sensible lifestyle habits?  Your body will definitely benefit from the added boost in nutrient levels so you become healthier, even live a better and longer life! 

Why Are Specific Supplements Needed

About the Author Samantha Brown

Growing up as a kid who played outside, Samantha enjoys an active lifestyle and emphasizes health as a key component to her life. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others so that anybody can live a healthy life. On the weekends, you can find her hiking around Southern California!

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