The average American’s diet tends to lack certain necessary nutrients. We eat far too few vegetables, far too much sugar, and far too many simple carbohydrates. But luckily, this can be ameliorated with the help of nutritional supplements. A nutritional supplement is generally ingested by mouth in the form of a pill or powder. Its intended use is to fill the void of a certain vitamin, mineral, or botanical herb that is lacking in your diet.
You can obtain supplements without a prescription, although, depending on your health circumstances, it is possible that a doctor may recommend a certain supplement for your diet. More than half of Americans take a vitamin supplement daily or often in an attempt to ward off disease and promote good health. But before taking any nutritional supplement, it is important to do your research on how supplements really affect your body and whether or not you truly need them.
Necessary Nutrients and What They Do
As you may know, there are certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that the body needs to survive and function properly. In particular, our American diets have been shown to lack calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and D. These nutrients must exist in our diet so our bodies can continue to thrive. Here’s what these nutrients do, in a nutshell:
- Calcium is needed to build strong bones, help blood clot, and keep the heart beating.
- Potassium is an electrolyte needed to help muscles contract, including the heart.
- Magnesium regulates muscle and nerve function and blood sugar levels. It helps generate DNA, bone, and proteins.
- Vitamin A helps with vision, reproduction, and keeps the immune system strong. It also keeps heart, lungs, and kidneys working properly.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body form connective tissue, including skin and blood vessels.
- Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium and help bones grow. Without it, bones become frail and sometimes misshapen, causing rickets in children or osteoporosis in the elderly.
How Supplements Can Help
There is evidence that supplements can enhance overall health. By taking a supplement, you are essentially giving your body a nutrient that it is not receiving from the food in your diet alone. It is also an asset to individuals with certain deficiencies, whose bodies may not otherwise absorb particular nutrients. Supplements are a way for these people to get what they need into their body and not suffer the health consequences of lacking a certain essential nutrient in their body composition.
Supplements are regulated by the food and Drug Administration as foods, not drugs. This means that the label may claim to have certain health benefits, while the supplement may not actually be the best method of getting the benefit it is describing. Supplements are not medicine–they can’t claim to treat or cure a chronic disease. In fact, if a supplement describes itself as a cure for a disease, you should probably consider speaking to a health professional before taking it.
Additionally, because people who tend to take supplements also tend to live healthy lifestyles (exercise regularly, sleep well, eat more nutrient-dense foods), it is hard to say conclusively whether or not nutritional supplements have specific and continued effects on health. All in all, it is widely accepted that supplements, when taken in the proper dosage, have overall health benefits to the individual who chooses to take them.
So what are the proper dosages of these essential nutrients? According to Harvard Health, these are the daily recommendations of each nutrient that you need, and the amount you should not exceed.
- Calcium: Recommended 1,000-1,200mg. Do not exceed 2,000mg.
- Potassium: Recommended 4,700 mg. Limit unknown.
- Magnesium: 320mg for women, 420 mg for men. Limit unknown.
- Vitamin A: Recommended 700mcg. Do not exceed 3,000mcg.
- Vitamin C: Recommended 75 mg. Do not exceed 2,000mg.
- Vitamin D: Recommended 600-800 IU. Do not exceed 4,000 IU.
You can obtain the supplements that are right for you from NetNutri.com. With plenty of options and great customer service, you can chat online with a support assistant to find which supplements will fit your diet best.
In the end, supplements are a low-risk method of filling out the gaps in your diet. They are a way to keep your body strong and healthy. As long as you exercise caution with your dosages and understand that taking them will not cure disease, supplements can be a worthwhile addition to your daily health goals. Soon you could be feeling happy and healthy from all of the vitamins and minerals at work in your body.