Often, physicians might tell their patients they need to add dietary supplements such as Vitamin A or C. Dietary supplements may not be new to many people; however, there are some people who might have to ask what dietary supplements are?
Younger people in particular might have to ask what dietary supplements are, they are just starting to take control of their own health and don’t have anyone just handing them vitamins or pills to take. Now, they need to know what they are taking and dietary supplements can be a large part of preventative health care.
What are Dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplements are often referred to as food supplements or nutritional supplements. These are substances specifically intended for providing added nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids or fatty acids to the body.
Dietary supplements are often needed when a person is not getting the necessary amount from their diet and they are deficient in a particular nutrient. Dietary supplements are also used as a preventative measure in an effort to prevent certain diseases or illnesses and possibly slow the aging process, as in the case of antioxidants.
In order to be considered a dietary supplement, there are some criteria that must be met. First, they must supplement foods that are eaten; next, they must contain one or more dietary ingredient, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids; lastly, it must be available in capsule, pill or liquid form.
Various Types of Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are available in various types, such as vitamin and mineral, or herbal and botanical.
Vitamin and mineral dietary supplements contain micronutrients that the body needs in order to function properly. This category of dietary supplement includes all of the vitamins and minerals that are typically found in a nutritious diet but may be lacking for various reasons.
Botanical and herbal supplements are typically used for either remedial or preventative purposes. They usually target a certain area of the body, such as Resveratrol being used for heart health.
Often, herbal and botanical supplements support more than one area of health. Most of the herbal and botanical supplements on the market are taken from traditional medicines around the world. Many people prefer these natural medicines to synthetic medications.
What are the Benefits of Dietary Supplements?
There are many benefits to dietary supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements supply the body with any vitamins that are not being obtained through diet. They also enhance body functions, for example Vitamin A benefits vision and growth while Vitamin E enhances the immune system.
Botanical and herbal supplements are beneficial in offering protection from various health conditions. As mentioned previously, Resveratrol, an herbal supplement made from the skins of grapes, is beneficial in helping to prevent heart disease and other illnesses.
Knowing what dietary supplements are and that they can be beneficial is important in maintaining good health. However, they should not be considered a replacement for eating a well-balanced diet. As their name implies, they are supplements, not replacements.