Dietary Supplements: Pros and Cons

We will be going through the pros and cons you should consider to help you make an informed decision. But, please, keep one thing in mind: dietary supplements are just that – ‘supplements’. They are not meant to outright replace meals or snacks, they are meant to supplement them. 

It may be difficult to ascertain whether dietary supplements are suitable to take. You may be wondering if they work as replacements for some natural foods or whether they are even a healthy choice? 

We will be going through the pros and cons you should consider to help you make an informed decision. But, please, keep one thing in mind: dietary supplements are just that – ‘supplements’. They are not meant to outright replace meals or snacks, they are meant to supplement them. 

What are the pros of dietary supplements?

  1. Preparation time: Not everyone can prepare meals every single day in order to meet their daily nutritional requirements. You may have ready meals sorted but still find yourself not reaching certain nutrient requirements and with no time left to address this. You can overcome this time restraint by turning to dietary supplements to give the body what it needs. It is a massive time saver when there is no time to spare.
  2. Long Shelf Life: Supplements have a much longer shelf life than natural foods. Natural foods are often perishable, whilst supplements are not and are also a stable source of nutrition. They can also work as great emergency supplies should you want to stock up a doomsday package.
  3. Emergencies: In emergencies, when natural sources of nutrition are unavailable, it may be easier to turn to dietary supplements to help the body stay strong and healthy. 
  4. Balance Nutrient Levels: If you are lacking in a certain nutrient, such as Vitamin B-12 deficiency with vegans, you can get extra nutrients from supplements. They can reposition you to have a balanced diet and bring nutrient levels to a decent and manageable level.
  5. Pregnancy Help: Folic Acid taken during pregnancy can help reduce the risks of the baby developing any birth defects. Other dietary supplements can also help prevent the risks of certain health conditions. 
  6. Affordability: Not everyone can afford to buy fresh produce to provide certain nutrients. On top of that, you have to consider preparing it, storing it and making it. Eventually, the costs can pile up around fresh produce and natural ingredients. Vitamins are cheaper and easier to manage as supplements, especially when you find yourself priced out of healthier fresh produce. 

What are the cons?

  1. Overdose: Dietary supplements increase the risk of nutrition overdose in the body. If you are not taking care of the amount of nutrients you are putting into your body, you can start to see adverse reactions. Eventually, this can result in toxicity which can be fatal if left unmoderated. 
  2. Adverse Effects: The human body is not built to absorb and utilise the nutrition from supplements as well as it can from natural food sources. This can lead to adverse effects on the body due to the inadequate fulfilment of nutritional requirements. 
  3. Drug interactions: A lifestyle with dominant dietary supplements used over natural foods can increase the risk of interaction due to a combination of drugs. This can be extremely harmful to health. You must be especially careful of this con if you are on regular medication or have a chronic condition that is treated regularly. If this is the case then you must seek the opinion of your registered GP to see if supplements are right for you.

Dietary supplements may not be the right choice for your body. Just because it’s easier doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier. You have to do your research and seek the advice of healthcare professionals to see if they are right for you, or if you even need it. 

However, if used with a plan, dietary supplements can posit many pros. These include a shortened preparation time, a longer shelf life, an answer for emergencies and helpful supplements for pregnant women.  

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