Many of today’s common health problems can be traced to lifestyle and environmental causes. Health supplements can effectively address some of these problems. Heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes are just a few examples of problems that have achieved epidemic proportions today. Many people do not eat healthy food and do not exercise enough. And the environment exposes us to toxins and pollutants that are new to planet earth. Even though we live longer than our grandparents did, we don’t always live healthier.
The Reality of Eating Habits
While it is easy for doctors or nutritionists to say that we should just eat foods that add up to at least the recommended daily allowances of the basic nutrients and exercise five days a week, it is not easy for the average person to do those things. We should all try to eat better and exercise enough, but doing it perfectly and consistently is just not practical for most people trying to make it in today’s world. That’s why millions of people worldwide are turning to dietary supplementation for their additional vitamins as a bridge between the worlds of eating perfectly and the world of relying on modern medicine to fix everything that’s wrong with us.
Health supplements can provide us with nutrients that may be difficult or impossible to get through our diet alone. Supplements can also effectively provide therapeutic action with some health conditions while subjecting us to fewer side effects than conventional drugs. Not only that, the right supplementation can often help forestall some of the normal effects of aging.
Snake Oil or Salvation?
When you mention supplements to some health care practitioners, they react as if the whole industry is made up of snake oil salesmen, and that supplements are a waste of money. There are, at the other extreme, practitioners who believe that supplements are the answer to every illness. As you may have suspected, the science tells us that the truth lies between these two extremes.
Mainstream Medicine Considers Supplements
Many mainstream doctors today are learning about the real effects of vitamin supplements, herbs, and other types of supplements, such as fish oil. Controlled studies on supplements are finally making it into the mainstream scientific literature, and in the U.S., studies on supplements are being conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the American Dietetic Association.
Health supplements are nutrients provided in a form other than in food. They may be in the form of an extract, a capsule, a tablet, or a powder. They aren’t miracle cures, but their usefulness in the average lifestyle cannot be dismissed, and mainstream Western medicine is finally coming around to those facts.
By Heather Hemmings
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