Supplements have become fairly mainstream these days. Of course, if your doctor advised you, you would only take a supplement a few years ago. But nowadays, you will find some or the other supplements in almost every household. But are supplements so necessary? Will they transform our health? Explains Certified Sports Nutritionist Rihana Qureshi.
Well, to begin with, supplements are supposed to be what they are called – supplements!
This means they must have a nutrient-dense and wholesome diet to meet nutrient deficiencies. When you try to enhance your wellness by consuming vitamins in addition to a poor diet, you will not see the desired benefits. A great example of this is whey protein supplements. Most people, especially the younger lot who work out religiously, will not miss taking a whey protein shake after the workout. Nothing wrong with that. But they must track how much protein they get from natural food sources. A whey protein shake without eating real protein will get you the desired results. Similar is the case for vitamin supplements. They are not a replacement for your natural food vitamin sources.
Does It Mean Supplements Are Useless? Not!
Supplements have a particular purpose – to treat some deficiencies. Unfortunately, many people pop supplements without knowing if they are defective. Classic examples are Biotin supplements for hair and Collagen supplements for skin. 90% of people taking these have not even checked their biotin or collagen levels. And this is where the problem arises – People use supplements to fix their issues without going into the root cause of that issue. Many of your skin and hair issues have their root cause in your gut! Hence before directly starting supplements, correct your diet and enhance your nutrition first.
Another big issue about supplements, particular vitamins, and minerals is that 95% of the vitamins sold are synthetically made. So the fact that synthetic vitamins are identical to natural vitamins does not imply that they are as healthy. Also, a synthetic vitamin’s physical form differs from a natural vitamin’s. And these synthetic vitamins have their share of problems as well.
Firstly, they have a low absorption rate, meaning they are not absorbed like natural vitamins from real food.
Secondly, they don’t contain all of the cofactors that come with vitamins in nature. And most importantly, they can contain additives, preservatives, flavourings, colourings, and residual traces of solvents and chemical compounds used in manufacturing them. The worst part here is many people have no idea they’re taking synthetic vitamins.
Supplements should only be used to support a deficiency you cannot address, even through a balanced diet. Your health will benefit more from a balanced diet than solely from vitamin pills. Your source of nutrition should come from whole-natural foods.