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The Ins And Outs Of Dietary Supplements

The Ins And Outs Of Dietary Supplements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY KAJAL PATEL

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTION BY MILLY MAINA

Supplements are not medicines but products intended to enhance the diet. They are not for preventing, diagnosing, treating or curing diseases. Though over the counter, they differ from prescription and other non-prescription medicines. They mainly contain vitamins including D and B12; minerals such as calcium and iron; herbs and other botanicals like garlic; as well as other ingredients such as probiotics; fish oils; amino acids; and enzymes. Supplements come in the form of tablets, capsules, gummy bears, powders, drinks and energy bars.

Nutrition is linked to immunity and the risk and severity of various infections including viral. Amid the ongoing global pandemic, more people are increasingly paying attention to their diets and nutritional status while mulling incorporating supplements to enhance their diets and boost immunity.

Nutritionists describe a healthy diet as one which includes vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits and nuts. They also recommend moderate consumption of fish, dairy and poultry with limited intake of red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates and sugar. Added fats should be from liquid oils such as olive, canola or soybean.

A healthy diet provides adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins to ensure sufficient numbers of immune cells and antibodies which are vital to the body’s response to infections. Here is what you need to know if you are considering taking supplements:

Taking Supplements Safely

Read the facts label that lists the active ingredients, amounts per serving and the suggested serving size.

Consult your healthcare provider in detail about the supplement’s potential benefits for you; its safety risks; the proper dose to take; when; and for how long to take it.

Keep in mind that the active ingredients in a supplement can have strong effects in the body and be on the lookout for bad reactions.

Always take supplements at the suggested dose to avoid side effects.

Seek medical attention if you have a bad reaction to a dietary supplement.

They can interact with some medicines and cause health problems. Consult your healthcare provider if you want to start taking supplements while you are on prescription medicine.

Food manufacturers add vitamins, minerals and other ingredients in supplements to the food you eat meaning you may get more of these ingredients when you start taking a supplement which might raise your risk of side effects. Such foods include breakfast cereals, beverages and flour.

Do not give supplements to children unless recommended by a paediatrician.

Do not take supplements if you are pregnant unless prescribed for by your healthcare provider.

Do not take supplements when you are nursing.

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