What are supplements?

Everywhere you go, it is difficult not to see a poster or an advert that blares out information about the benefits of supplements. Interestingly, not everyone knows what supplements are, what they are composed or even what they are used for. This article is going to zoom in on the topic of supplements and explain what they are all about.

It was in the year 1994 that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act established the definition of supplements. Very important in sustaining the vital functions of the body and taking part in the prevention of diseases, supplements have truly come a long way. One thing that is common to all dietary supplements is that they have to be taken orally. This explains why supplements come mainly in the form of drinks, capsule, powder, pill, chewy gummy, tablet and so on. Supplements also differ in terms of the composition and the ingredients that were used in making them.

However, even if the proportions change, the ingredients used in dietary supplements can be divided into the following groups: minerals, plant extracts, vitamins, proteins, metabolites, and others.

As many are already aware of, vitamins are organic substances that assist the body in growth, repair and metabolic processes. Common examples of vitamins are vitamins B, C, D and A. Each vitamin has its specific property and is also needed for certain biological processes in the human body. For example, vitamin A is needed for proper eyesight while vitamin D is needed for biochemical processes that maintain the skin. Minerals, on the other hand, are not organic nature, they are inorganic but are also essential to life like the vitamins too. Examples of minerals are potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and others. Because the human body does not have the ability to produce them, you have to add them to your food in the form of supplements.

Talking of plant extracts, there are so many of them. They are sourced mainly from different plant parts such as seeds, flowers, bark, roots and, even the leaves. Different supplements spend different periods in the body, there are some that leave the body in a matter of hours after it is ingested while some others are saved in the body reserves for a long time. When it comes to taking supplements, it is important that you follow the advice of a trained medical practitioner, nutritionist or dietician. There is danger in overdosing on supplements and for some of them like the vitamins, you need very little amounts on a daily basis. The same goes for the minerals too, your body does not need a lot of them in terms of quantity, you only need miniature and controlled doses to get maximal benefits.

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