There has long been a debate about the efficacy of nutritional supplements. Those who are against them believe that diet alone is the most effective way to obtain the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Advocates of nutritional supplements believe that diet may not be the enough to get the necessary nutrients the body needs and supplements makes up for what our diets lack.
Which side of the debate is right? Keep on reading to learn more about the pros and cons of natural supplements and decide for yourself.
Natural Supplement Pros
First, let’s examine the positive aspects of natural supplements:
- Support optimal health. There are so many different types of supplements and they serve a variety of purposes. Supplements that contain minerals, vitamins, and enzymes can help to support optimal health. While yes, these nutrients can be obtained through diet, it can be hard to ensure that you are getting the recommended percent daily value of each nutrients on a regular basis. Therefore, supplements can help to fill those nutritional gaps and serve as a preventative measure for maintaining optimum health. Supplements are ideal for people who live busy lifestyles and often don’t have the time to eat well-balanced diets, or who have food allergies that prevent them from getting the vitamins and minerals their bodies need.
- Prevent certain health conditions. Scientific evidence has proven that low levels of certain nutrients can lead to various health conditions. For example, if you aren’t receiving the percent daily value of iron through, you could develop iron-deficiency anemia, a condition that can lead to a whole host of problems, including chronic fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart rate, weakness, cravings to eat non-food items like dirt or clay, and circulation issues. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to complications that include fatigue, soft bones, skeletal deformities, muscle and bone pain, decreased functioning of the immune system, hair loss, and depression. Severe cases of vitamin D deficiency could also lead to an increased risk of cancer. Given the consequences of nutrient deficiencies, taking natural supplements can help to stave off a variety of health conditions.
- Increased physical performance. Another positive effect of nutritional supplements is their ability to enhance physical performance. Vitamins and nutrients play a big role in the functioning of your muscles, joints, and energy levels. If you are lacking nutrients, you could suffer from fatigue and weak muscles and joints, which can negatively impact your physical performance. Of the many supplements available, circulation supplements are gaining popularity because of their ability to increase strength and endurance.
- Enhanced cognitive function. Natural supplements can also improve cognitive function. For example, vitamin A and vitamin D supplements contain powerful antioxidants that can combat free radical damage. Damage from free radicals can significantly impair cognition and has been linked to an increased risk in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Natural Supplement Cons
Despite the many benefits that natural supplements can provide, there are some cons to be aware of, including:
- May not be safe. Not all dietary supplements are safe. Though they may be advertised as “all natural”, unfortunately, many contain ingredients that are, in fact, unnatural, and these ingredients can have adverse effects on your health. Likewise, even those that do contain natural ingredients could have a negative impact on your health. If you take too many supplements, there is a risk of toxicity. Some supplements can also interact with certain medications – or with each other.
- They can’t replace food. It’s important to remember that though supplements can fill in nutritional gaps, they aren’t meant to replace food. There are several vitamins and minerals that you can get from food that supplements simply don’t provide.