While coming up with no ideas of what to write about, I decided to talk about a topic that was highly and commonly used in the United States, food supplements. Food supplements are highly used today, about roughly half the US population has either tried or are using them in their daily intake to make up for the lack of essential nutrients missing in their daily diet. Before people take any sort of supplement, do they think about whether it actually helps or hurts their bodies? What the consequences could be if people don’t mix them with actually food, and if they exceed the amount of nutrients they are taking because of the supplements? Some people don’t realize that taking in more nutrients then their bodies need is actually very dangerous.
An article published by the Harvard Health Publications stated, “Some supplements that were found to have health benefits in observational studies turned out, with more rigorous testing, to be not only ineffective but also risky.” Vitamin B and folic acid for example, was believed to prevent heart disease and strokes until later studies showed not only didn’t they preform that function, but that they raised concerns that high doses of those nutrients could increase cancer risk. As mentioned by Dr Manson, “Usually it is best to try to get these vitamins and minerals and nutrients from food as opposed to supplements” (Harvard, 2013). This article stated that people can’t get the same synergistic effect from a supplement as opposed to getting it from actual food.
Taking food supplements should be used only for filling in small nutrient gaps since they are supplements intended to add to people’s diet. Food supplements aren’t meant for the replacement of real food or a healthy meal plan. As stated by a registered dietitian Karen Ansel in WEBMD, “Food contains thousands of phytochemicals, fibers, and more that work together to promote good health that cannot be duplicated with a pill or a cocktail of supplements.” Food supplements can help prevent deficiencies that could relate to chronic conditions. In a study shown by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there was a positive increase in bone density and fewer fractures in postmenopausal women who took vitamin D and calcium supplements with their usual food intake to help fill in the nutritional gaps that were missing in their diets, and in a healthy and positive manner rather then either taking too much or replacing them for actual food.