Do I Need Dietary Supplements if I Eat a Balanced Diet?

Most people don't need to take vitamin supplements and can get all the vitamins and minerals they need if they consume a healthy, balanced diet. Taking these supplements is a way to guarantee that individuals get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health. However, not everyone needs to take them. Research has revealed that people who took vitamin D supplements but were not deficient in vitamin D had a higher risk of dying during the study period, but the supplements did not seem to increase the risk of death for those who lacked vitamin D.

Supplements can also be beneficial for people with Crohn's disease or celiac disease, conditions that impede the absorption of certain nutrients. Of the supplements that aren't derived from vitamins and minerals, fish oil has the most scientific evidence to back up its use. Some studies have indicated that vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of death and illness, while others do not. Women who experience perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms can use supplements to help alleviate hot flashes, migraines, insomnia, night sweats, and irregular periods.

The message here is that supplements prescribed by a doctor are useful for people with certain medical problems. Supplements are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may contain hidden ingredients or drugs that you are not aware of. Previous research suggested that men who took vitamin E supplements may have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Because supplements are regulated as foods, not as drugs, the FDA does not evaluate the quality of supplements or evaluate their effects on the body.

Few studies demonstrate a clear relationship between taking supplements and preventing diseases, unless those diseases are caused by a nutritional deficiency. Anyone with a condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease should get a doctor's approval before taking a supplement. Each person provided information on the use of supplements in the past month, more than half had consumed at least one, as well as on their dietary habits. Eating a mix of nutritious foods can also reduce the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you follow a healthy and balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, then you may not need dietary supplements. However, if you have any medical conditions or deficiencies that require additional nutrients or vitamins, then it is important to consult with your doctor about taking dietary supplements.

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