The dietary habits of the average American are usually far from healthy. In many cases, our diets lack essential minerals and nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Many everyday diets also lack useful vitamins such as A, C, and D. So it comes as no surprise that a large number of Americans also use dietary supplements in addition to what they eat. Some people consume supplements to get the nutrition they don’t have in their meals. Others use it to give their physical health a boost and beef up their immune system. But do they really work?
Are Dietary Supplements Helpful or Harmful?
Pills make for an easy way to get your supplement intake. However, just because you consume a lot of dietary supplements, you’re not guaranteed to get a boost to your overall health and fitness. Some supplements can even prove to be dangerous if you consume extremely high amounts. More supplement intake does not necessarily translate into improved health, even if you’re just taking vitamins for healthy hair. This blog explores:
- The FDA Recommended Nutrient Intake
- Why Are Supplements So Popular?
- The Safe and Healthy Way to Get Nutrients
- The Verdict
Let’s explore these areas in more detail below.
The FDA Recommended Nutrient Intake
Humans need specific nutrients for specific purposes. For example, calcium increases bone strength. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects you from viruses like the common cold. Iron in your bloodstream ensures better fitness and energy throughout the day. There is no doubt that the intake of these nutrients is essential for a healthy body and mind. But do you really need as many proteins as contained in your protein supplements? The FDA recommends the daily intake of specific supplements and also highlights the maximum safe limit for consuming them.
Protein shakes for building muscles often contain very high doses of protein and other nutrients. When used within the recommended safe limits, these can help you build up a better level of fitness. However, too many of them can be bad for various aspects of fitness. They can impact bone density, blood circulation, and even cardiac health. Be very careful to stay within FDA approved limits for any nutritional supplements.
Why are Supplements So Popular?
Supplements have garnered a positive reputation in the health and fitness world. For example, several studies have shown that Vitamin D supplements assist the body in fighting a long list of diseases including cancer, depression, or even diabetes. People generally accept that Omega3 fatty acids help improve cardiac health and avoid problems like strokes or heart attacks. Many also believe that antioxidants keep the brain and body healthy. All in all, nearly everyone views dietary supplements as a positive addition to their fitness habits.
However, all of these studies have one big problem. They are all observational. That means they didn’t test one group with a supplement and another with a placebo. The settings in which these studies were conducted weren’t as controlled as we have come to expect. However, that does not mean all supplements are useless. Of course, people who take fat burning supplements are also very keen on exercise and general fitness. But it’s hard to separate whether the increased fitness is a result of supplement intake or regular exercise.
The Safe and Healthy Way to Get Nutrients
Of course, there is no denying the usefulness of our body getting certain types of supplements. This is especially true if you’re on a restrictive plant-based or vegan diet. Our body needs these supplements to boost immunity, improve body function, and overall health. They are some of the most essential nutrients your body needs in order for you to live a healthy life. That means there is nothing wrong with taking dietary supplements in addition to your diet. But it is also important for you to stay within the recommended safe limits the FDA has laid down.
Our final say on the matter is simple. There is no hard evidence to prove the intake of dietary supplements is as beneficial as we think it to be. But there is even less evidence that taking these nutrients as supplements to your diet can be harmful. The FDA guidelines offer a useful benchmark to measure your intake against. As long as you remain within the prescribed limits, your dietary supplement intake should continue to be good for your body. But taking too much of them can have serious consequences in the long-term.