Supplements cost a fair bit and special supplements come with a heftier price tag. There is a great deal of marketing and publicity involved in supplements and the business is worth billions (the current average is $26 billion). But are you getting your money’s worth? So how useful are supplements anyway or are you throwing your money down the drain when you buy supplements?
Different kinds of supplements
There are many different kinds of supplements that promise a whole lot of things. With more than 29,000 supplements in the market, it stands to reason that all are not created equal. There are supplements for
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Mineral deficiencies
- Weight loss supplements
- Weight gain supplements
- Muscle building supplements
- Antioxidant supplements
- Extracts of various superfoods sold as supplements
Supplements are supposed to work and be safe because they are reportedly made from herbs and botanicals. However, the supplement market is largely unregulated and advertising and hype contribute a great deal to sales and popularity of products rather than actual evidence.
What does the research say?
Vitamin and mineral supplements are often prescribed by doctors and can be fairly useful in certain conditions and if you are in danger of suffering from deficiency diseases. A case in point is iron-deficiency anemia that can be helped with iron supplements. Pregnant women may be put on various supplements including calcium and iron if required. If you suffer from the following, you may consider a supplement that is based on proper history and diagnosis by a medical practitioner:
- Poor sleep
- Slow metabolism or weight gain without a change in diet
- Digestive problems
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Food cravings
- Food allergies
- Alcoholism or other addictions
However, if you eat healthy and have a balanced diet most of the time, you probably don’t require any dietary supplements. A general multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement can be taken to cover up any shortfall in vitamin and mineral intake if you think you need it. A good quality supplement can also be taken by people who are
- On a weight loss diet
- Suffer from digestive disorders
- Eat too much fast food or outside food
- Young children and seniors
- On any kind of restricted diet
What about other supplements? Most of the other supplements sell more on the basis on advertisements than anything else. Many of them are pure hype. While steroids and protein supplements can help build muscle, testosterone supplements can have many unwanted side effects. Weight loss and weight gain supplements will not work without taking into account the diet. Antioxidants can be found abundantly in fruits and vegetables. And instead of having extracts of superfoods, it is best to have the foods instead so that you get all the natural nutrition with no side effects. You may find that you spend the extra money on actual food to be more beneficial than popping pills.
Do share your experience with supplements.