Supplements refer to any food, vitamin, mineral, or other substances (e.g. amino acids) that are ingested to increase dietary intake of nutrients and promote wellness in humans. For better or worse, many people do not maintain a healthy diet and as such may be deficient in needed vitamins and minerals. Eating healthfully is not enough for some people; they need supplementary support from outside sources to meet their nutritional needs.
Benefits of Supplements To Human Health
1. Increase nutrient intake
The human body depends on nutrients from food and supplements to meet its needs. A common response to nutritional deficiency is anemia, but other deficiencies can result in a wide range of health problems. Even though many people know that a diet lacking in certain nutrients may lead to poor health, it may not always be easy for consumers to acquire the dietary supplements needed for optimal health.
2. Help the body absorb nutrients
Physicians sometimes recommend vitamin and calcium supplements to help their patients meet nutritional needs. Minerals, amino acids, herbs, and other nutrients can be used to treat certain diseases (such as osteoporosis), correct imbalances in body chemistry, or simply improve overall health. Recent research has also shown that certain vitamins and/or minerals may help prevent cancer. For example, beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) may have a protective effect against the development of cancer in the lungs.
3. Prevent/reduce nutrient deficiency
Many people lack nutrients in their diets because they do not buy them or do not think to eat them. People who are deficient in specific nutrients may also not meet their own needs by eating well-balanced diets. For example, people who cannot absorb carotenoids (vitamin A) may fail to get enough of this nutrient from foods, so supplements may help prevent deficiencies that might occur if no action is taken to correct the problem.
The many benefits associated with supplement use can help maintain and improve overall health. However, it should be noted that supplements should never replace regular meals. The best approach to keeping healthy involves an active lifestyle, a well-balanced diet, and the occasional use of supplements to ensure that the body is receiving all the nutrients it needs to function at the highest possible level.