Why Supplements Really Are Worth Taking, Explained By a Certified Nutritionist

Some food for thought: Even the healthiest and well-balanced diets could use a little nutrition boost. 

Do you know for sure that you’re getting all of your necessary nutrients from your diet alone? Here’s some food for thought: even the healthiest and well-balanced diets could be lacking in essential dietary nutrients. 

According to one survey conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), it’s estimated that roughly 31% of the American population could benefit from adding a least one nutrient to their daily regimen. (1) Luckily, we have supplements as a way to bridge the gap between the nutrients we get from our diet and the amounts that we really need. 

The research around dietary supplements is highly varied and controversial, but that’s not to say that you should rule them out. If you use them for their intended purpose – as a supplement, rather than a substitute, then supplements can absolutely be worth taking, and for most, they’re highly beneficial.

First, What Are Supplements? 

Dietary supplements include ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes.

Many people have a pretty solid understanding of how to balance their macronutrients (in other words, their carbohydrates, proteins, and fats). But in addition to eating a balanced plate, we should also be watching our intake of micronutrients, otherwise known as vitamins and minerals. 

These micronutrients are essential — our body can’t make them on its own, so we have to get them from our diet. They play a variety of important roles in our body, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that getting the right amount of nutrients can support optimal health. (2) Supplements can help ensure that you get enough of the vital substances the body needs to function, but should not replace complete meals which are necessary for a healthful diet. They are a great “side-kick” to filling out an otherwise healthy and balanced eating plan and help you to fill in any nutritional gaps you may have. 

Supplementation, Not a Substitute

Ideally, you would get all your essential nutrients from your food, but that’s not always a possibility. Supplements are just that – supplementation, not substitutes. They aren’t intended to be treatments, nor should you take them in high amounts that exceed dietary recommendations. Rather, supplements of essential nutrients are meant to be used to support a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

There are other kinds of supplements that don’t necessarily contain essential vitamins and minerals, but instead have natural ingredients that can support your health. Take the supplement ashwagandha, for example. This root may not be an essential nutrient, but studies have shown that supplemental forms of this adaptogen can be used effectively for supporting the hormone cortisol, helping to reduce stress levels naturally. (3) 

It’s important to keep following a healthy lifestyle and eating plan, and take your supplements as a dietary “add-on.” This can help make up the difference between the nutrients you need and the ones that you can’t get from your diet.

Why Nutrition Supplements Are Important

As mentioned above, adding nutrients that are otherwise hard to get from our diet can be highly beneficial for our overall health. Even if you eat an incredibly clean diet, supplements can help to provide an extra layer of confidence that you are receiving every bit of support your body needs. 

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data was studied, researchers concluded that there has been a decline in the nutrition within agricultural soil. (4) What does this mean? The nutrients in the produce we eat comes from the soil it is grown in. If our soil is depleted of nutrients because of current agricultural practices, fertilizers, and mass-production of goods, we cannot be confident that the produce we eat is as nutrient-dense as it once was.

In addition, some of these vitamins and minerals can be hard to come by in foods alone. For example, let’s take a look at Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This antioxidant is made by your body and plays an important role in generating energy. As you age, it becomes harder for your body to produce the active form of CoQ10, ubiquinol. There are also other factors that can slow down ubiquinol production, including the health of your mitochondria. (5) There are few foods that naturally contain a good amount of CoQ10, which is why supplementation is key in this case.   

Other essential nutrients like Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids are best found in animal food products like meat and dairy – which could be difficult for someone who eats a plant-based diet. (6) It would be worth taking a supplement in this case, since it could be difficult to find the right source that fits within your diet.

Additional Supplements Worth Taking 

There are other nutrients that can be difficult to get from your diet alone, so it’s important to add them into your regular supplement routine. 

Probiotics

In addition to the macronutrients and micronutrients that your body needs for proper fuel, you also have a colony of bacteria in your gut that play important roles in your digestive health. Probiotics introduce healthy bacteria into your gut microbiome and are found in fermented foods and yogurt, but if you’re not getting a lot of these in your regular diet, taking a probiotic supplement can help. 

Krill Oil

There is a ton of evidence that suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are good for supporting healthy inflammatory reactions and promoting heart health. (7) Unfortunately, the most well-known source for these two fatty acids is oily fish, which some people find hard to eat regularly. In this case, a krill oil supplement can bridge the gap and give you the fatty acids you need.

Adaptogens 

You may not be getting these superfoods in your regular diet, but adaptogens like ashwagandha can play a major role in helping you to manage your stress response. Adaptogens have been used in ancient medicinal practices, and the science is showing that they are just as applicable today. Studies have found that these herbs and roots can effectively influence your adrenal glands, the organ responsible for secreting your stress hormones. (8)

Adding these targeted supplements into your wellness routine is a great way to go above and beyond for your health. BalanceGenics Complete Health Bundle contains these supplements along with six other essential nutrients, so you can give your body the support it needs to function at its best. 

Key Takeaways 

Remember, supplements are just that – supplements, not substitutes. It may be ideal to get all of your nutrients from your diet alone, but research is showing that it just isn’t feasible for a big percentage of the population. 

Adding high-quality supplements into your regular wellness regimen can be a great way to double down on a healthy diet and ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients that your body needs. 


Quick Disclaimer‍

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All readers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Sources

  1. Bird, J., Murphy, R., Ciappio, E., & McBurney, M. Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States.


  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Micronutrients have major impact on health. 


  1. Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults  


  1. Scientific American. Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious? (2011).


  1. Hernández-Camacho, J. et al. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation in Aging and Disease 


  1. NIH News In Health. Should You Take Dietary Supplements? 


  1. Molfino, A. et al. The role for dietary omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in older adults


  1. Liao, L. et al. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide  

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