All thanks to our busy and mundane schedule, our day starts with a morning rush and ends with exhaustion. We are all juggling various things in life – whether it is our personal commitments or professional ones. But in between a hundred work meetings and tiring commuting, our health suffers. 

We skip meals, binge on junk food, and compromise on something that should be our priority – nutrition. But to help combat health deficiencies, there are health supplements. Health supplements are the new talk of the town. They fulfil our nutrition deficiency and are very convenient to use, not to mention, with the least possible effort. 

We all love the easy way out – even when it comes to health. These health supplements are our shortcuts to health. 

If you are here reading this, we can say with conviction that you are either considering buying health supplements or are probably on your 4th or 5th box.

For those of you who are considering taking health supplements, you must also wonder in the back of your mind if these health supplements are even a safe choice. You are not alone; the safety of health supplements has been a popular subject of debate. 

Today, we will be clearing that confusion and help you decide if they should be your ultimate choice.

There is little doubt about the effectiveness of health supplements and more concern about the side effects. Let’s talk about the effectiveness first. 

Effectiveness of health supplements

Some health supplements do work. Some studies and research do suggest that some supplements can improve health in various ways. Some of the most widely chosen nutrient supplements are calcium, multivitamins, vitamins B, C and D and E. While calcium improves bone health, vitamin D aids the body to absorb calcium. Vitamins C and E on the other hand, are antioxidants—molecules that prevent cell damage.

Even though these supplements help, you still have to be mindful of your expectations. Health supplements are created to fill nutritional gaps, but they do not in any way give you the transformation you are expecting. For instance, if you are taking a biotin supplement for hair growth, you can expect a loss in hair fall, but you cannot expect it to make your hair grow 2 inches longer in a month. Hair can grow 0.5 inches a month. Health supplements do not promise wonders. Those who do, just know it’s a marketing gimmick. 

Secondly, it is important to know that the supplements cannot reverse, or cure any disease. If you come across any brand promising the same, just know it is a scam. A health supplement may, however, promote or benefit health indirectly. For instance, as per research, nutritional supplements such as fish oil can promote heart health but cannot prevent heart attacks and cardiac arrests.

Thirdly, supplements can be effective, but you cannot expect supplements to show results in a short while. You are required to take the supplements for the prescribed time and in the prescribed dosage. Do not stop before that. For instance, if you have been recommended a health supplement for 3 months, do not expect results or improvement in a month. At the same time, do not take supplements more than the recommended dosage. 

Possible side effects 

Common side effects can include constipation and diarrhoea  However, most health supplements do not have any major side effects. 

But sometimes, these supplements can interact with other medications and cause side effects or reduce the effectiveness of some medications. For instance, if you club vitamin K supplements with blood thinners, the effectiveness of blood thinners may reduce. Consult with your doctor first. 

Here is what you must do

To be on the safe side, it is any day better to talk to your doctor before you begin taking supplements. Ensure that you inform your doctor about your past and current medical history, possible allergies, and the medicines you are taking. Doctors also recommend not taking any supplements, other than those prescribed, before surgeries. Hence, DO NOT TAKE SUPPLEMENTS WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR. 

Get a health check-up done before you take supplements 

You cannot feel you have a nutritional deficiency and decide to take a supplement for the same. YOU HAVE TO KNOW FOR SURE. Getting a health check-up is a must. A health check-up identifies the deficiencies in your body. It is then you can take the supplements to fulfil that nutritional gap, given that you do not have any allergies, are not on other medications or steroids, or do not have any medical procedure aligned. 

Lastly, should health supplements be your choice? 

Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this. YES, you need a health supplement 

  • If you have a nutritional deficiency. You must get a health checkup first to identify the deficiency first. 
  • Your busy schedule is making it difficult for you to fulfil the gap with a regular nutritious diet
  • If you are not on a medication, do not have any allergy to the ingredient present in the supplement, or do not have a surgery or medical procedure aligned. 
  • If your medical practitioner permits. Doctor consultation is a must before you begin taking supplements to avoid any side effects and medicine interactions. 

NO, if otherwise.

 It is important to note that health supplements cannot replace the perks of a healthy and nutritional diet. The old-school way here is better and the safest bet. The nutrients from a healthy diet are easier for the body to consume, absorb, and process. A nutritional diet any day, has the upper hand over nutritional supplements.

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