Few things have been as controversial as nutritional supplements have been recently. Depending on who you listen to, they are either the answer to any problem you have or they are the devil incarnate. The truth about nutritional supplements, though, is really somewhere in between.
Nutritional supplements are more widely used now than in other time in history. This is because many people have turned to nutritional supplements in order to fill the gaps in what they know to be unhealthy diets that don't meet the minimum daily requirements for many, many necessary vitamins and minerals. Others have turned to nutritional supplements in order to enhance everything from their workout regimes to their memory and mental functions.
Considering the controversy over whether it's safe to take nutritional supplements or not, you probably wonder just what you can really expect from taking nutritional supplements. Do they have any real benefit?
The fact is that taking nutritional supplements in their recommended dosages is extremely helpful for everyone from infants to elderly people. The methods used to grow and process our foods have changed drastically in the last 100 years. In many cases, this means that the food itself is deficient in many essential, basic vitamins and minerals.
Add that to the fact that people are so time-starved today that many of us practically live on meals out of paper bags makes taking nutritional supplements almost mandatory. Taking vitamins and other nutritional supplements is a good way to be certain you get all the proper vitamins and minerals you need daily.
However, nutritional supplements should never be used as a substitute for a good diet. Eating at least three (and many experts recommend five) well-balanced meals and two well-balanced snacks per day is still the best way to be sure you're getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay fit and healthy. Adding nutritional supplements to good eating habits simply goes the extra mile to see that you're getting all the nutrients that your body needs each day.
There are many high-quality multi-vitamins available at your local drugstores, as well as through many online sources. The key thing to remember when you decide to take (and you should!) nutritional supplements of any kind is to take them only as directed. Those directions are put on the bottles and packages for a reason—to ensure the vitamins and other herbal supplements are taken correctly.
This is vital for any nutritional supplement you take to be both as safe and effective as it should be. Too high doses of anything can cause side effects you aren't expecting and don't want. When you take more of any vitamin or nutritional supplement than the manufacturer recommends you take daily, then you run the risk of taking more than your body can effectively and safely process in a twenty-four hour period of time. Any risk of taking too much or of unwanted side effects is slight, though, for nutritional supplements when they're taken as directed. Even slightly higher dosages, in most cases, will have few side effects because your kidneys will flush them from your system, which keeps your body from absorbing too much of any one vitamin or mineral. Still, to be totally safe, take nutritional supplements exactly as instructed.
If you're still uncertain as to whether you should take a nutritional supplement each day, ask for your doctor's advice. This is particularly true if you're on any prescribed medications. It is possible for some supplements to decrease the efficiency of some prescribed medicines and to interact with them, causing unwanted side effects. However, despite many news headlines you may have read, this is rare, especially when nutritional supplements are taken as directed.
Taken properly, nutritional supplements are an excellent way to ensure your body has all it needs to be healthy. Just be sure to use them to supplement, not substitute for, a good healthy diet.
By Wesley Atkins
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