Dietary supplements come in pill, gummy, or powder form and aim to enhance nutrition intake with vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes – but do they really contribute towards leading healthier lives?
Nutrition experts, such as registered dietitians, generally advocate changing one’s eating habits as the primary means of meeting nutritional requirements. However, some individuals may have dietary challenges or specific health needs that necessitate supplementation for full nutritional needs fulfillment.
Let’s look at some of the different types of supplements and how they can support your health and wellness.
Vitamins (or their closely related molecules, known as vitamers) are organic molecules essential for optimal metabolic processes in small amounts in humans. Because our bodies cannot synthesize these micronutrients on their own, we must obtain them through diet.
Vitamins have numerous biological functions including fighting oxygen free radicals and protecting cells and tissues against oxidative damage as well as regulating enzymes and hormones – there are 13 recognized vitamins.
Dietary supplements come in various forms such as tablets, powders, liquids, and sugar-free gummies that aim to increase your nutritional intake of vitamins and minerals. People use them for various reasons such as improving overall wellness or treating specific health concerns.
Many individuals lack essential nutrition due to physical constraints preventing them from receiving enough through diet alone; some medical conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol increase the risk of nutritional deficiency as well.
Minerals are inorganic substances with solid properties and usually possess crystalline structures, made of inorganic substances by geological processes and found naturally on Earth. Some minerals consist of only one chemical element like gold (Au) or diamonds (C), while others such as salt or halite may include multiple elements or compounds.
Calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are necessary in large quantities for strong bones and teeth; iron contributes to blood circulation by creating hemoglobin; zinc strengthens immune function while copper provides enzyme formation while strengthening antioxidant defenses; potassium balances fluid balance while controlling heart rate. Other trace minerals–fluoride, iodine, manganese, and selenium–may be needed as well.
Herbal extracts are widely used wellness products. As a form of herbal medicine, this process involves submerging herbs in liquid to extract their desired constituents – these extracts can then be taken either directly as tinctures or supplemented in capsules and tablets for consumption. Most tinctures also come standardized so each dose provides guaranteed amounts of active ingredient.
Tinctures are shelf-stable liquid extracts that can be taken directly from their bottle with a dropper, or mixed into beverages and food to create delicious drinks or recipes. Tinctures may also be combined with other extracts to form elixirs, syrups, teas, salves, and essential oils for even further usage.
Glycerites and solid herbal extracts are alcohol-free versions created by dissolving plant components into vegetable glycerin or honey, typically sold in soft gel form. Most herbal extracts will have their ratio of dried herb content to alcohol content printed on their label; an increased ratio signifies potency.
Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids are an indispensable part of human biology. They play a vital role in creating hormones, providing nourishment for skin, hair, and nails as well as supporting immune and nervous system health. Although nonessential fatty acids (NNFAs) may be produced within the body itself, essential fatty acids (EFAs) must come from your diet – EFAs include linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), as well as their derivatives EPA and DHA.
EPA and DHA can be found in foods like fish, algae, walnuts, and flax seeds; their ALA content is then converted by enzymes in the liver into more potency forms of EPA and DHA for increased intake.
With the right supplements, you can better support your health and wellness. Of course, a healthy diet is also important.