Healthy

Health Benefits Of Vitamins And Supplements, According To Science

Many Americans use supplements to boost their health and immunity, from multivitamins and melatonin to fiber and fish oil.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 58% of U.S. adults 20 and older take dietary supplements. The supplement industry is valued at over $30 billion annually.

Fang Fang Zhang, a professor at Tufts University, says, “The popular belief is that a supplement will help promote health.”

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In her research, supplement users are more likely to live a healthier life, eat a more nutritious diet, and exercise more often.

Supplements can be harmful in some cases. There are an estimated 23,000 ER visits in the U.S. yearly for adverse events related to dietary supplements, most related to weight-loss and energy supplements.

What Are The Benefits Of Supplements?

An adequate diet must contain various vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that the body needs to function correctly.

Zhang says, “Dietary supplement use is not a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.”

Due to the fortification of U.S. packaged food with additional nutrients, nutritional deficiencies are rare among the general population.

Regulated As Food, Not A Drug

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 regulates supplements as foods instead of medications, so many people take them to improve their health.

There is no requirement that manufacturers prove their supplements are effective or safe before marketing them.

Choosing The Right Supplements

Make sure you examine supplements critically and steer clear of extravagant claims.

Before taking supplements, you should consult your doctor, as many interactions with medications.

In addition, you should not take them while pregnant or breastfeeding, before surgery, or during cancer treatment.

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Conclusion

Zhang says, “We don’t eat a single nutrient; we eat a portion of food. Many supplements don’t achieve the same effect as the natural nutrients from food sources.”

According to Zhang, scientific evidence could evolve as researchers study nutritional supplements.

Zhang says, “Dietary supplement use shouldn’t substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. There’s no magic pill, unfortunately.”