Have you ever stood in a health food store and looked at shelf upon shelf of supplements? Have you ever studied the labels, and wondered whether you shouldn’t perhaps be taking some – or all – of these wonderful products which promise so much? Maybe you then turned around, feeling very confused, and went home to have a nice cup of tea and a consoling chocolate biscuit, saying like Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” The whole issue of supplements is fraught with mystery, but really the idea is very simple. Supplements, which are sometimes called food supplements, sometimes dietary supplements, and sometimes nutritional supplements, are preparations, naturally derived or artificially manufactured, which are intended to provide vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fibre and other useful things which are generally found in the diet. They are used when there is a likelihood that your normal diet is not supplying you with enough of these useful and important items.For example, imagine you live in Siberia. In the winter, you may not be able to get sufficient supplies of vitamin C in your regular diet. So it would make sense to take a vitamin C supplement. Now whisk yourself off to the Caribbean. You are surrounded by oranges, pineapples, mangoes, papaya and other delicious vitamin C laden fruits all year round. It doesn’t make sense for you to take a vitamin C supplement, because it is cheaply and easily available in your usual diet.

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An interesting example of the need for a vitamin supplement is shown in the Asian populations who migrated to cold countries. Asian people don’t eat a lot of dairy produce Tincture manufacturing, a prime source of vitamin D, and generally get their vitamin D from the action of sunshine on skin. However, in a cool climate, and bearing in mind that Asian people are often modestly dressed and not showing much skin, there isn’t enough sun to synthesize sufficient vitamin D for health. This was not realised in the early days of emigration, and older Asians often show signs of the bow legs brought on by rickets, which is a vitamin D deficiency disease. So whenever you are considering supplements, first look at your diet. Are you getting a balanced diet – or do you survive on tea and toast? Vitamins especially, and other supplements as well, cannot act on their own – they must interact with the food that you eat.

Once you have established that you are eating a good healthy diet, then consider what your health needs are. For example, many people who have pains in their joints caused by arthritis find that taking fish oil capsules is very helpful in easing some of the pain and improving mobility. it’s a great idea to consult an expert in nutrition to help you find your way around all the bewildering array of supplements which are available today, especially if you have specific medical issues. And don’t be fooled into thinking that if something is “natural” it isn’t potentially harmful. Even natural products are made up of chemicals. Aspirin derived from the bark of a willow tree is exactly the same chemical as aspirin made in a pharmaceutical plant. However, natural products may contain other substances which increase their effectiveness as a nutritional supplement – there are some studies which indicate that this might be the case. Supplements can interact with each other and with conventional drugs that you may be taking, so do take care, and be sensible, introducing one new product into your regime at a time. Many supplements which the body can’t use in the quantity that you are taking will be eliminated by your urinary system, but you don’t really want to have the world’s most supplement enriched and expensive pee, do you? So establish what your needs are, take advice, make wise choices, use it as part of your dietary supplements and hopefully, you will reap the rewards in the form of better health and increased freedom from pain.

There are nutritional supplements and there are nutritional supplements, but are they all the best for you? In life, we are always faced with making choices – some good, some bad but ultimately, we find one that’s best for us in the end, regardless of what we think.

From the shampoo we use on our hair to the model and make of the cars we drive, we are always driven to choose but choosing what’s right for us can be one task that’s daunting and cause us to make wrong turns but knowing how to choose the right things for us, makes sure we keep to the straight and narrow, no matter how tough it may be.

Nutritional supplements are one of those things that we often have to choose from. With obesity and other weight-related issues breathing down our necks every day, it is no surprise that people have started going on health kicks by engaging in various forms of exercise torture, sports and recreational activities guaranteed to make them lose a few pounds or at least help them maintain a fit and healthy body. As such, they understand that they will need the best nutritional supplements to wrap things up neatly.

Nutritional supplements are said to include vitamins and minerals and may come in the form of herbal supplements, meal replacements, sports nutrition products and natural food supplements to name a few. When you go on a diet, no matter how healthy it is, you stand to experience a certain lack of nutrients mainly because you have to restrict your intake of calories. These supplements need to be taken to fill in the gaps and to boost your nutritional content. They can also serve the purpose of strengthening your immune system and reducing the risks of age-related medical conditions and certain illnesses. If you’re into sports, supplements can help enhance your performance and endurance, as well as help your muscles and tissues recover from the strain of constant workouts and training.

Nutritional supplements come in many shapes and forms but the most popular types include multivitamins, herbal supplements, meal replacements and sports supplements. Multivitamins are composed of vitamins and minerals, micronutrients that are essential for the body to function properly. Vitamins are needed by the body to support its biochemical functions because deficiencies over time, can lead to disease and illness.

Minerals on the other hand, are required by the cells in the body as part of their basic make-up and chemical balance. A lack of minerals in the body can lead to necessary nutrients not being absorbed, especially proteins which is sorely needed by athletes to help in the repair and recovery of their muscles.