Fitness alert: Here's what you should know before taking a supplement
There is so much buzz about the potential health advantages of supplements that it can be difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction but taking a supplement when not required or in excess may lead one to the hospital. Here's what you should know before taking a supplement
For many people, living a healthy lifestyle entails more than just eating a nutritious meal and getting adequate exercise; it also includes vitamins, supplements and additional nutritional items. However, despite widespread myth in people regards their potential advantages, there is less understanding of their potential adverse effects.
In fact, health experts reveal that employing these supplements when not required or when taken in excess may result in a adverse effects to the body and may lead one to the hospital. When it comes to supplements, people say, “What is the harm in taking them? There are no side effects, let’s take them.”
There is so much buzz about their potential advantages that it can be difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction as we all know that vitamins and minerals are vital for health. Further, they are optimally available in a balanced meal and can be generated in our body with optimal exercises and right exposure to sunlight.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shruti Tapiawala, Nephrology and Renal Transplant Physician at Global Hospitals in Mumbai's Parel, explained, “By not following a balanced diet, doing regular exercises and spending time outdoors, vitamin and mineral deficiencies crop up and people resort to taking them in pill, capsule, or powder form, especially in megadoses, which is neither necessary nor without dangers. Example, excessive Vit D3 can cause toxicity and high calcium levels causing irregularities of heart, brain and kidneys.”
She added, “An example for medical indication for supplements is as follows- A systematic evaluation of the possible effects of dietary supplements on cardiovascular health, including heart attack and stroke, found that only omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid were useful in preventing heart disease. This will add to a low-salt diet, dietary adjustments benefit in heart ailments.”
Asserting that our body needs certain nutrients, she said, “Your body repairs and regenerates cells and tissues on a regular basis. The body has a robust system of generating cells and destroying/scavenging defective or old cells when their life span is over. The nutrients derived from food and its metabolism are used to perform the day-to-day functions of all endocrine organs, make chemicals required for brain, heart and gastrointestinal function, and also provide minerals to the bones for bone health.”
Does our food contain everything? Dr Shruti Tapiawala answered, “Yes if one eats a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils (dals), pulses, cereals, dairy products, body can absorb and process the required vitamins and minerals. Further exercising in morning sunlight and getting fresh air ( oxygen ) will help the strengthening of bones and muscles.”
Talking about what you should know before taking a supplement, she said, “While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of dietary supplement regulation, no safety testing or FDA clearance is necessary before a new supplement can be sold. Furthermore, there are no restrictions that nutritional supplement packaging mention potential side effects, nor are there maximum pill size standards (a clear risk for older people). For one reason, nutritional supplements, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs, can occasionally interfere with one another. One should always take a supplement only when a deficiency is proven and based on that prescription given by doctors.”
Highlighting that a diet rich in non processed foods - fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, pulses, cerals and dairy products added to regular exercises and fresh air will suffice the requirements of a human body, Dr Shruti Tapiawala said, “Supplements should be used only when medically indicated. Some supplements, when used correctly, can benefit your health, while others might be useless or even hazardous. For many people, living a healthy lifestyle entails more than just eating a nutritious meal and getting adequate exercise; it also includes vitamins, supplements, and additional nutritional items. However, despite widespread public knowledge of their potential advantages, there is less understanding of their potential drawbacks. In fact, employing these items may result in a trip to the emergency room.”