Making sure that you get your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals is tricky if you’re busy, and who isn’t? Missing out on a meal, or neglecting a food group are common in a fast-paced society. Because most people know the value of getting the nutrients they need for their overall health and well-being, many people turn to health supplements to make up for what their diet lacks. Multivitamins The most convenient health supplements are multi-vitamins, which often contain important minerals like iron and calcium. These are extremely popular as a backstop measure for meeting nutritional need. But you can also get single ingredient supplements, or specialized supplements. Popular examples are B complex vitamins, beta carotene, and calcium tablets. Dietitians and nurse practitioners routinely recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, because of their role in maintaining or improving health. Obstetricians almost universally prescribe prenatal vitamins to their patients who are pregnant. Non-vitamin Supplements But vitamins and minerals are far from the only health supplements available. One that has earned a lot of attention and press coverage is omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Sometimes these are called fish oil pills. They contain unsaturated fats that have been associated with better heart health. Other popular supplements that aren’t vitamins and minerals include ginger for digestive health, saw palmetto for prostate health, and acidolphilus for healthy bacterial balance in the digestive system. Herbs Herbs and botanicals are popular types of dietary supplements too. Some herbs have been used medicinally in many cultures around the world since ancient times. Some are very common, while others are rare and exotic. Herbal supplements contain extracts from buds, roots, flowers, berries, stems, leaves, or stems of plants. Some of the most popular herbal supplements include ginseng, Echinacea, St. John’s wort, garlic, and grape seed. But it is important for consumers to bear in mind that just because herbs are natural doesn’t mean they don’t have an effect. For example, the plant extract ephedra (also known as ma huang) can be dangerous to the heart if taken in too-large quantities, particularly if it is consumed with caffeine. For this reason, ephedra is banned in many places. Amino Acids Another type of supplement is the amino acid supplement. Amino acids are what proteins are made from, and a deficiency in amino acids can affect the skin, hair, muscles, and connective tissues. Health supplements are powerful enough to have a real, positive effect on general well-being. An increasing number of health care providers are coming around to the idea that supplements can be beneficial to people even if they are generally healthy to begin with.
By Heather Hemmings Author and webmaster
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