The standard American diet, full of refined carbohydrates, sugars and lacking in essential vitamins and antioxidants can leave you deficient in many key nutrients needed to prevent chronic disease and to run all body systems effectively. While a healthy balanced diet often provides a source of vitamins and minerals, taking dietary supplements on top of your healthy diet may prove beneficial in ensuring your body has the nutrients it needs each day.
According to the National Institute of Health, dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products. Today, more supplements than ever before are available in health food stores, drug stores, pharmacies and online. These can be in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, tinctures, powders, gummies, drinks and more.
The definition of a supplement is “something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.” Research indicates that more than half of all Americans take some form of vitamin supplements. Many people are uncertain about the necessity of taking supplements. Some health experts tell us that they’re mostly unnecessary because we can get the essential nutrients we need from our diets alone, while others tell us that conventionally grown foods today don’t contain enough nutrients due to issues like poor soil quality.
The best supplements for you will depend on various factors like your gender, age, medical history, genetics, level of physical activity and diet. Adult men may need different supplements than women would need. Vegetarians and vegans may benefit from nutrients like vitamin B12, and likewise, people living in colder climates, where sunshine is scarce, may need more vitamin D.
We also have to remember that even the best supplements do not take the place of eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods. While supplements like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein powders can help to support specific functions, the real goal of using supplements should be to enhance an already-balanced diet. When that’s the case, their doctors or practitioners may recommend a dietary supplement to provide the missing nutrients. At Denver Integrative Health, we take great care in analyzing your food intake, medications and medical history to know what the best course of supplementation is for you.
Just because something is said to be “natural” doesn’t mean it is safe or good for you. It could have side effects. Many supplements can interact with your prescription medication. They could also be harmful to you if you have certain medical conditions. As with prescription drugs, Dietary supplements can be beneficial at any age, but can also have unwanted side effects. At Denver Integrative Health we can help you make the choices of supplements that are best for you.
It’s important to understand the supplements you are taking and why you are taking them. Find out as much as you can about any dietary supplement you might take. Discussing this with a qualified practitioner helps you get on the correct supplements that won’t interact with any medication you might be taking. A supplement that seemed to help your neighbor might not work for you. If you are reading fact sheets or checking websites, be aware of the source of the information. Could the writer or group profit from the sale of a particular supplement?
Choosing brands that are of a high quality, don’t have many excipients and fillers and are preferably food-based is best. Don’t buy dietary supplements with ingredients you don’t need. Don’t assume that more is better — it can actually be harmful to take too many supplements or those with a very high concentration of a nutrient.
Make sure any claim about a dietary supplement is based on scientific proof and qualified studies. Some advertisements for dietary supplements in magazines, online, or on TV promise that some of these products will make you feel better, keep you from getting sick, or even help you live longer. It’s important to know that often, there is little, if any, science supporting these claims. Before deciding to start taking a dietary supplement to treat any health condition, check with your doctor. Do not take a supplement to try to diagnose or treat any health condition without first checking with your doctor.
Keeping these factors in mind, we at Denver Integrative Health can help you get on the most suitable supplement program for you.