Food Supplements – What are they for, types, side effects

Food Supplements

Dietary supplements are any substance that you take to improve your health or well-being. This includes vitamins, minerals, and herbs.

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The most common form is in pill or capsule. They can also be obtained in powders, beverages, and food. These supplements are not intended to cure diseases or health conditions.

An exception is considered if the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved them because of a health claim.

Dietary supplements are a product intended for food that contains a dietary ingredient intended to add more nutritional value to the diet.

It can be one, or any combination of a mineral, vitamin, herb, amino acid or dietary substance to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake and can be found in many forms such as concentrate, extract, capsules, liquids or powders.

Some dietary supplements can help you get an adequate dietary intake of essential nutrients or help you reduce your risk of suffering from an illness.


Dietary supplements also known as dietary supplements or nutritional supplements are an elaboration that is intended to supplement the diet and supply nutrients.

Such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and substances such as enzymes, organ tissue or metabolism, as well as other matters that may be needed and can be consumed in a sufficient amount in the person’s diet.

Benefits of vitamins and food supplements

Minerals and vitamins are micronutrients that work and serve a specific purpose and benefit the body in a unique way.

For example, vitamin A supports vision and bone growth, while other vitamins and minerals strengthen the immune system and help repair DNA.

Deficiency of vitamins and minerals can impair the body’s ability to protect and heal itself.

Combat chronic diseases:

It is true that we can get vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients from the food we eat, but we are not all receiving the necessary amount on a daily basis.

Taking supplements can help increase the nutrients in our body to provide protection against chronic diseases such as heart problems, stomach ailments and the like.

It can increase the overall performance:

Another advantage of taking food supplements is that you can really gain momentum in your overall performance.

Athletes often take supplements when training not only for their endurance but also for their muscular strength.

Add nutrients

As we mentioned before, many times we do not feed ourselves properly, for this reason, we can not trust that only food can guarantee that we are receiving the necessary nutrients.

Taking supplements, on the other hand, ensures that our body will receive some of the most essential nutrients that are not in our diets, such as vitamins and essential minerals that our body needs.

In addition, some supplements are necessary if you have specific dietary restrictions, such as being vegan or vegetarian when some nutrients may be more difficult to consume.

In addition to food sources, it may be important to take a B-12 supplement to supplement your diet in the case of restricting animal by-products.

Who should take them?

Although the first step is to have a healthy diet, some people should consume food supplements, either because of their lifestyle or because they require a special nutrient.

  1. Women of childbearing age, because they require calcium and iron
  2. Pregnant or lactating women
  3. Children and adolescents with irregular eating habits
  4. People who have a vegetarian or vegan diet
  5. Women or men on a diet or avoiding certain food groups
  6. People with eating disorders or with special medical conditions (absorption problems, lactose intolerance)
  7. Those who frequently eat processed foods and fast food
  8. To avoid side effects or damage to health, you need to learn to buy food supplements safely. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends searching products at sites or companies recognized by health authorities.

The disadvantage of food supplements

Although taking supplements has its benefits, there are still some drawbacks that you should keep in mind.

Supplements are not meant to be a food replacement, this is the most important thing you need to remember.

There are many types of vitamins and minerals that are found in food and that supplements can not provide.

Among some drawbacks are

They may not be reliable:

Unlike other medicines that are regulated, many supplements sold today are not monitored closely.

With that said, the supplement that you can take may not be as effective as those that are recommended by your doctor to take the care and time necessary to study your supplement options.

In short, just because something is available on the market does not mean that it is completely safe.

For this reason, it is recommended to ask your doctor about possible side effects with any other medication taken before deciding to take a specific pill or supplement pill and be sure to consume it in adequate amounts to obtain the desired results.

They do not meet all your needs:

Phytochemicals, for example, are best found in food sources such as whole foods, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

It is important not to trust that your supplement will provide all your daily nutritional needs. If the supplements are taken in too high amounts, there is potential for toxicity.

They can trigger side effects:

Taking supplements without consulting your doctor can cause several side effects, especially when you are already taking other medications.

Nausea, dizziness and even an erratic heartbeat may occur if your supplements conflict with the medication you are taking.

Some of the known threats from high intake of vitamins include, for example, childhood poisoning from an excessive iron intake.

Tissue damage due to high selenium consumption; damage to the liver due to high consumption of niacin; diarrhea, bone damage and birth defects due to high consumption of vitamin A.

Nervous disorder, and muscle weakness due to high consumption of vitamin B6; urinary tract problems due to the high consumption of vitamin C and renal and bone deformity due to the high consumption of vitamin D.

Vitamin A is known to cause serious damage to the liver when use is too high.

The most important thing to remember when using supplements is to monitor your body. If you feel that your body is not accepting the supplement well, monitor and adjust until you find the ideal and what works for you.

Before you start taking food supplements, first ask yourself: do I need this supplement? Is this supplement safe?

Questions to ask your doctor

  1. How do I know if I need a dietary supplement?
  2. How do I know what dose I should take?
  3. What dietary supplements can be beneficial to me?
  4. Is a vitamin considered a dietary supplement?
  5. Can dietary supplements interact with the foods or medications I am taking?
  6. Can dietary supplements cause side effects?
  7. Can dietary supplements that I take to interfere with my lab results?
  8. How often should I take a dietary supplement?
  9. Are dietary supplements safe?
  10. Are “natural” dietary supplements safer?
  11. Is there anyone who should avoid taking dietary supplements?
  12. There are so many dietary supplements available in the store, how do I choose the right supplement for me?
  13. Can I take dietary supplements if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
  14. What types of supplements are safe for children?

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