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Your Most Burning Questions About Supplements Answered Well

Last Updated on 04/01/2023 by Steve Wanjie

“Learn about the different types of health supplements available and how they can be used to support the health of specific body systems or to fill nutritional gaps in the diet.

Find out how to choose high-quality supplements and how to use them safely and effectively.”

What is a health supplement?

A health supplement is a product used to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or insufficient in a person’s diet.

You take these products by mouth as pills, tablets, or capsules, and they are used in addition to, not as a replacement for, a healthy diet.

You can use health supplements for a wide variety of purposes, such as;

a) to increase the intake of certain nutrients for people who are unable to get enough of them from their diet,

b) to support the health of specific body systems or organs or to help maintain overall good health.

It’s important to note that health supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate them in the same way that prescription and over-the-counter medications are.

a picture of different types of supplements - supplements
a picture of different types of supplements

What is a supplement used for?

You can use health supplements for a wide variety of purposes.

Some people use supplements to help maintain good health and prevent deficiencies in essential nutrients.

Others use them to support the health of specific body systems or organs, such as the heart, brain, or joints.

Some people use supplements to help manage certain health conditions, such as osteoarthritis or anxiety.

In contrast, others use them to improve athletic performance or build muscle.

Many different health supplements are formulated to address a specific need or concern.

It’s important to note that health supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate them in the same way that prescription and over-the-counter medications are.

Who needs supplements?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the need for supplements can vary widely from person to person depending on various factors such as age, lifestyle, diet, and health status.

However, in general, people who may benefit from taking health supplements include:

  • Those who have a poor or unbalanced diet:

Some people may not get all the nutrients they need from their diet, either because they are not eating enough of a variety of foods or because they have a medical condition that interferes with their ability to absorb nutrients. In these cases, supplements help fill in the gaps.

  • Vegetarians and vegans:

People who follow these diets may be at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies and may benefit from supplements such as vitamin B12 and iron.

Pregnant and lactating women: These women have increased nutritional needs and may benefit from supplements such as folic acid and iron.

  • Older adults:

Our bodies may absorb and use certain nutrients less efficiently as we age. Older adults may benefit from vitamin D and calcium supplements to help maintain healthy bones.

  • Athletes:

Some athletes may have increased nutritional needs due to their high level of physical activity and may benefit from supplements such as protein and amino acids.

It’s important to note that taking supplements should be based on an individual’s specific needs and in consultation with a healthcare provider.

Who tests supplements?

Several organizations test health supplements to ensure that they are safe and effective.

These organizations may include:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

The FDA regulates the safety of dietary supplements in the United States.

While the FDA does not review or approve supplements before they enter the market, it can take action against any unsafe or misbranded supplement.

  • The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB)

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) is the National Drug Regulatory Authority established under the Pharmacy and Poisons Act, Chapter 244, the Laws of Kenya

  • The U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP):

USP is a scientific organization that develops and publishes dietary supplements’ quality, purity, and identity standards.

USP’s dietary supplement verification program helps to ensure that supplementations meet these standards.

  • ConsumerLab:

ConsumerLab is an independent testing organization that analyzes the quality and purity of health products, including dietary supplements.

It publishes the results of its tests in reports available to consumers.

  • NSF International:

NSF International is a third-party organization that tests and certifies dietary supplements and other consumer products for safety and quality.

It’s important to note that the testing of dietary supplements is less rigorous than the testing of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Therefore, the safety and effectiveness of supplementations are not guaranteed (in some cases.)

What are the three types of supplements?

Many different types of health supplements are available, classified in various ways.

Here are three examples of categories that supplementations may fall into:

a) Nutrient type:

This includes supplements that contain a single nutrient or a combination of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Examples of nutrient supplements include multivitamins, calcium supplements, and fish oil capsules.

b) Form:

This refers to the physical structure of the supplement, such as pills, tablets, capsules, or liquids.

c) Health focus:

This includes supplements formulated to support the health of specific body systems or organs or to address particular health concerns.

Examples of supplementations in this category include joint support supplements, probiotics, and sleep aids.

It’s important to note that this is just a tiny sampling of the many different types of available health supplements and that no one-size-fits-all supplement is suitable for everyone.

The decision to take supplements should be based on an individual’s specific needs and in consultation with a healthcare provider.

What are the three best supplements to take?

It’s impossible to identify the “best” supplements for everyone.

The specific supplementation most appropriate for an individual will depend on age, sex, diet, lifestyle, and health status.

In addition, the safety and effectiveness of supplements can vary widely, and it’s essential to choose products of high quality and tested for purity and potency.

Here are three supplementations that may be beneficial for some people:

a) Multivitamins:

A multivitamin is a supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals.

It can be a convenient way to help ensure that you get enough of these nutrients if you cannot get enough from your diet.

However, it’s important to note that a multivitamin is not a substitute for a healthy diet.

b) Calcium:

Calcium is an essential nutrient that is important for the health of bones and teeth.

It may be significant for women at increased risk of osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to become brittle and fragile).

Calcium supplements are available in various forms, including pills, chewable tablets, and liquids.

c) Omega-3 fatty acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats essential for heart health.

They are in fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, and plant-based sources, such as flaxseeds and walnuts.

Omega-3 supplements are available in the form of capsules and liquids.

They may benefit people who need more fats in their diet.

It’s important to note that taking supplements should be based on an individual’s specific needs and in consultation with a healthcare provider.

How to choose high-quality supplements?

There are several factors to consider when choosing high-quality health supplements:

  1. Look for brands with a good reputation:

Choose products from companies with a proven track record of producing safe and effective products.

2. Check for third-party certifications:

Look for supplements certified by organizations such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International, which test and verify the quality and purity of health products.

3. Choose products made in the United States:

Supplements made in the United States are subject to stricter manufacturing standards than those made in other countries.

4. Check the ingredient list:

Ensure that the supplement contains the ingredients listed on the label and that the amounts of these ingredients are within the recommended limits.

5. Be wary of claims that seem too good to be true:

If a supplement claims to cure a wide variety of ailments or to be a “miracle” cure, it’s probably not a high-quality product.

6. Please consult with a healthcare provider:

Before starting to use a supplement, discussing your needs and options with a healthcare provider is a good idea.

They can help you choose an appropriate product and guide dosage and potential risks or interactions with other medications or supplements.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that you choose high-quality supplements that are safe and effective.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, health supplements can be a valuable way to help ensure that you get enough of certain nutrients or support the health of specific body systems or organs.

However, it’s important to remember that supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate them in the same way that prescription and over-the-counter medications are.

Therefore, before starting to use a supplement, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider to determine whether it is appropriate for you and to discuss any potential risks or interactions with other medications or supplements you may be taking.

Additionally, choosing high-quality products from reputable manufacturers and following the dosing instructions is essential.

Taking these steps can help ensure that you use supplements safely and effectively.

What Supplements Help With Weight Loss?

References:

Food Supplements Regulatory Support in Malaysia

Dietary supplements

What you need to know about dietary supplements

The new regulation in Kenya

Verification of supplements

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By Steve Wanjie

Steve Wanjie is a digital marketing specialist, SEO Expert, expert article writer, blogger, sex educationist, and businessman. He is the founder of Dijito Marketing and Laikipo.com. He works and lives in Nairobi Kenya.

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