There are many reasons why people take nutrition supplements. Before I discuss the reasons, I will define nutrition and supplements. Nutrition is a science that examines the relationship between diet and health. The science of nutrition discovered hundreds of years ago that deficiencies in diet, excesses and imbalances in a diet can produce negative impacts on a person's health, and these negative impacts may lead to a number of diseases.
A supplement, in the dietary context, means something taken by people to enhance a diet. Supplements can include vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and other additives. Those who wish to gain muscle mass take bodybuilding supplements.
An example of one supplement is folic acid. All women of childbearing age and especially those who are already pregnant are being recommended by their medical practitioners to take folic acid to prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects. Scientists have established that there are health benefits for adults also, in doses that are not usually achieved by consuming a typical diet.
Research shows that consumption of vitamin and mineral supplements is common in the United States. People report a variety of reasons for taking nutrition supplements, including decreasing their susceptibility to health concerns such as heart attacks, colds, stress, flu and people also take supplements to increase their energy levels. Other reasons for taking supplements are to alleviate the pain from arthritis, to help reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, to reduce cholesterol problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, immune disfunction, osteoporosis, obesity, and alzheimers. People also take supplements to reduce their chances of getting cancer, and to help destroy existing cancer cells. So, science has established that nutrition plays a very important part in our health and well-being. The big question is – can the food we eat supply us with enough nutrients to help ward off disease and illness? There appear to be three different schools of thought in regard to this question.
- One school of thought is that if we eat lots of different fruit and vegetables, we should get enough nutrients to keep us healthy. In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that we should eat five to thirteen servings of fruit and vegetables a day. I do not know anyone who eats that many servings every day, and I do not think there would be many people who do. A lot of people buy their dinner from take away food shops on their way home from work, and while there are more healthier take away food shops opening up, they still do not have very many fruit and vegetables. In addition, the fruit and vegetables we eat need to be fresh, and to be grown from nutrient rich soil. Because of pollution and toxic chemicals in our environment, the food we eat is not pure these days. During the last several decades, the nutritional benefits we could get from food have diminished. Years ago, farmers used to rotate crops to improve the quality of the produce, but that does not happen now. Even organically grown foods are subject to the same contamination as other foods, unless they are grown in a protected environment.
- Another school of thought is that specific supplements can be taken after diagnosis of a deficiency in our diet. For example, individuals with signs of a zinc deficiency or iron deficiency, may be recommended to take zinc or iron supplements.
- The third school of thought is that prevention is better than cure, and it's best to take a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruits such as açaí, noni, mangosteen, goji and amla, are considered to be nutritionally superior with more health benefits than those obtained from other fruits. Research has shown that some of these fruits can help protect the body against inflammation, harmful bacteria, oxidative stress, mental disorders, heart damage and high cholesterol. Previously, these fruits were only available in certain countries, but now many of them are being used in supplements so that everyone can benefit from them.
There is another consideration to be taken into account when deciding which school of thought fits into your way of life. Many of the multivitamins in tablet form can not be absorbed into the cells of the body, so they are excreted with other waste materials, and the body gets little benefit from them. Some studies have indicated that our bodies absorb less than 10% of what is on the label on the tablets and capsules.
What is on the label is not important, when it comes to nutrition. What is important, is our bodies ability to absorb the nutrients we take, into the bloodstream, because this delivers real nutritional value.
Liquid nutrition supplements are absorbed into the blood stream right away. They are also a good choice for people who suffer from what we call "pill fatigue" because they are tired of choking down tablets and capsules. Taking tablets can be inconvenient and cumbersome.
To summarize, people take nutrition supplements because they want to keep healthy or improve their health and energy levels. It's not easy to eat enough nutrient rich fruit and vegetables in one day, to provide all our daily required nutrients. Therefore, supplements are a simple and convenient way to help prevent many serious and also the not so serious health concerns. Liquid supplements are absorbed into the bloodstream easily, and are a solution to "pill fatigue".