Food supplements are dietary supplements that are added to the diet to improve the nutritional balance in the body. Basically we fulfill most of our nutritional requirements from food but sometimes our diet could not fulfill the requirement of every mineral, vitamin or carbohydrates and we need to add supplements to our diet to ensure that we have taken all the nutrients. Food supplements are thus just supplemented in the diet to improve the deficiency. The purpose of food supplements should not be to fulfill the basic dietary needs.
Who should take food supplements?
Food supplements should not be necessarily taken by every individual only those people who could not fulfill their nutritional requirement from food should take food supplements. Some people are over conscious about their diet and they take food supplements without the advise of the doctor and that is also not good. Food supplements should only be taken after consulting with a physician.
Elderly people who cannot take sufficient calories from food can take food supplements. Elderly people can suffer from various diseases like hypertension or heart problems and they have to cut down the intake of fats in their diet. Their activity is limited and they have to eat selected food, the selection of food lowers their intake of other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. This deficiency can be fulfilled using food supplements. Elderly people should consult a physician before taking food supplements as their activity is limited and the nutritional requirement is less, they should not take excessive intake of nutrients. Their body cannot digest and absorb extra nutrients and that can cause problems so they should take supplements only when a physician suggests them.
Pregnancy poses extra requirement of every nutrient in the body. The mother needs to eat twice the amount that she takes in regular days. She needs to take plenty of minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber. Sometimes pregnant women find it difficult to consume nutrients from the diet due to issues like persistent nausea, vomiting or heartburn. When mother cannot fulfill the RDA of each nutrient from diet she needs to take supplements to overcome this deficiency. Multivitamins and multimineral tablets or capsules are often given to the pregnant women in order to fight any deficiency in the body. Iron and calcium are two very important minerals that body needs during pregnancy and any deficiency should be dealt immediately.
Lactation is a period that women often do not give importance but in reality during lactation the mother should take healthy diet to get all the nutrients that are required for lactating the baby. The requirement of minerals like calcium is high and the lactating mother should drink milk at least three times a day, in case she cannot manage to do so she should take calcium supplements. Calcium is necessary for them and for their baby as well as other important nutrients.
In chronic diseases
In several chronic diseases the patient needs to take food supplements to overcome the deficiency of any nutrient. In some diseases the patient has to take extra nutrients to fight the disease.
Constipation and other digestive disorders
During constipation one should take a large amount of fiber in diet and if not possible from the diet the requirement can be fulfilled using supplements of fiber. Dietary fiber can be obtained from various sources but sometime it is not possible to obtain the required fiber from the diet. It should be kept in mind that diet is the best source of fiber.
Diabetes also poses requirements of several nutrients and as diet is limited in diabetes the diabetic patient can fulfill the requirement of other essential nutrients except sugar from supplements.
As in diabetes in hypertension the patient cannot take a diet that is rich in fats and thus his diet become limited and his diet become low in other nutrients too so to fulfill that deficiency he should take food supplements.
In coronary diseases the patient has to take extra caution as far as diet is concerned. He needs to take vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidant rich diet. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are also very necessary for good heart health and these nutrients are present in very small amount in diet so the patient can take food supplements.
The deficiency of vitamins can cause hormonal imbalance and to fulfill that requirement necessary vitamins can be taken in the form of food supplements.
In nutritional deficiency
Nutritional deficiencies are very common in now a days the reason being that people most often eat fast food that is low in essential nutrients and high in calories, this causes nutritional deficiency in the body.
Iron deficiency is very common in girls and women and iron is the most important mineral as it forms the hemoglobin that forms the blood in the body. Iron deficiency should be fulfilled immediately as the person who is deficient in iron can become anemic and this can be very dangerous for health.
Calcium deficiency is also common and calcium deficiency can cause several bone problems. By using food supplements this deficiency can be treated.
Vitamins are very necessary in our body they help in the absorption of fats, glucose and proteins in the blood and they are necessary for hormonal balance. Vitamin deficiency can cause problems in mineral absorption too so the deficiency of vitamins can be dangerous.