Dietary supplements for everyone?

According to many, our daily food provides sufficient nutrients for a healthy life and the use of supplements is not necessary. Food experts believe that they are only necessary for a limited number of people. For example, elderly people may have a vitamin D deficiency and supplementation is required. It is also beneficial for some other groups if nutritional supplements supplement daily meals.

Opinion of many experts

Broadly speaking, there are three reasons why people use nutritional supplements. The first is because people think that this is beneficial for their general health, the second is the opinion that the supplements contribute to good fitness and the third reason is that they think they can perform better by using nutritional supplements. However, many experts believe that a balanced diet contains sufficient substances that a person needs. Only certain groups of people sometimes need extra nutrients.

Dietary supplements for certain groups

The groups that require nutritional supplements include:

  • Alcoholics.
  • Anorexia patients.
  • Young children.
  • Medicine users with insufficient absorption of certain substances.
  • People who eat one-sidedly.
  • People who do not eat animal foods and dairy products.
  • People who rarely go outside.
  • Elderly people with intestinal infections.
  • Elderly people with stomach infections.
  • Elderly people who spend a lot of time indoors.
  • Smokers who are therefore particularly deficient in vitamin C.
  • Athletes.
  • Women who lose a lot of blood during the menstrual period.
  • Pregnant women.

Different forms of nutritional supplements

Dietary supplements usually contain industrially or synthetically reproduced substances. They are available in different shapes. The most common forms are capsules and pills, but there are also forms such as drinks, drops and powders. All these products contain minerals, vitamins and bioactive substances or a combination of these substances.

Virtually the same effect as other substances

In principle, these substances have almost the same effect as the nutrients that naturally occur in food and drinks. One difference is that the body absorbs the substances in food less easily than the substances in pills and drinks, etc. An example of this is that vitamin B11 (folic acid) is absorbed thirty to fifty percent less quickly from food than from a synthetically produced product.

Elderly and vitamin D

The deficiency of certain vitamins is common in the elderly. This usually concerns vitamin D. This vitamin can be produced by ultraviolet light from the sun on the skin. The cause of the deficiency is that as we age the skin is less able to produce vitamin D. Many elderly people also live mainly at home and their skin is often covered when outside the home. For these reasons, it is often recommended that women take vitamin D as a supplement from about the age of fifty and men from the age of seventy. This advice also applies to young people who live in similar circumstances to older people.

Athletes and their belief in supplements

In addition to the elderly target group, many nutritional supplements are also used by athletes to stay in shape or to perform better. The reason why athletes believe in this may be that athletes are more concerned with their body and do a lot to keep it optimal in order to continue practicing their sport or to have more faith in achieving certain goals.

Recommended daily amount

Especially among those who are concerned with their body and health, such as athletes, the idea is: if it doesn’t help, it won’t hurt. However, overusing supplements for a long period of time can also be harmful. This especially applies to vitamins A, D and B6, but also to substances such as calcium, iodine, copper, magnesium, selenium and zinc. It is therefore important to adhere to the RDA (recommended daily allowance) stated on the label. By the way, supplements sold at the pharmacy, drugstore or supermarket have all been checked and are safe with normal use.

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