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Health

Dietary Supplements: deception or not?

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Do we actually need supplements and are they even safe to use?

The exchange of dietary supplements has formed a multi billion dollar industry that’s expanding as we speak. So let’s try to understand what we really need, versus not getting short handed by this business. The human body needs vitamins and minerals to perform specific functions. But the necessity of these elements is in minute amounts that are balanced by an intricate system. The functions of some vitamins actually interact with minerals and are dependent on them for optimal functioning. For the general population, a solid, well-balanced diet is sufficient. In special cases, though, like with pregnant women or smokers, they’d need backup sources to make sure you’re not missing out any necessary vitamins.

For smokers, it’s essential that they include more vitamin C in their diets since they need extra antioxidants. On the other hand, a pregnant woman needs to alter her diet in a way to add more calcium, iron and folate. Apart from these cases, though, in general, we do not NEED added vitamins and minerals, especially if our diet is complete.

So why are there so many supplements in town?

The dietary supplement industry has its own opinion. It lives on clever marketing techniques used to convince YOU that you need to purchase their products by pushing half-truths and relying on people’s lack of scientific knowledge.

The daily amount of vitamins and minerals one’s body needs are based on in-depth scientific analysis that took years to put together! When you swallow those ‘healthy’ vitamin pills, it can lead to an amount of vitamins in your body that are more than necessary. This causes an imbalance within you.

More Vitamin C is absorbed with additional iron. However, too much of vitamin C will lead to extra calcium in your body, causing kidney stones! Minerals tend to compete for the same carrier in our blood; iron and copper have the same carrier, so when consuming more copper, you run the risk of iron deficiency and vice versa.

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So the moral of the story is that unless prescribed by your doctor, it’s not worth consuming incremental vitamins and all those other supplements. If you really want to be healthy, go cut yourself an apple and cook yourself some veggies. Drink plenty of water, abstain from smoking and alcoholic drinks, and exercise religiously.

 This blogpost was published on Jeddah Beauty by author Dr. Almamoun Alshingiti.

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