“ Can sleep supplements improve your sleep, really?” This was a common question I encountered while at college.
During my college days, there were quite a number of drinks that claimed to enhance sleep and sexual performance. To myself I thought, “ Do these things really work?!”
It could be a familiar question to you too if you have come across supplements. Do they really work?
Dive in as the experts take you through the ins and outs of supplements.
Whereas some people make it clear that the role of supplements on body function are lay claims, other people give testimony to the power of supplements. This article brings you filtered and well researched views of experts on supplements.
What are supplements?
Supplements are products containing vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, or other substances that aim to supplement the diet. They come in various forms, like tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, and are intended to provide nutrients that may be lacking or insufficient in a person's regular diet.
What do supplements contain?
Depending on what their target is, supplements contain a variety of ingredients, mostly natural ingredients. Supplements may contain herbs, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, minerals among others.
Supplements may even contain herbs. Herbal supplements like ashwaganda, garlic, Ginseng, Gingko biloba and others. These come in different forms, mostly tablets and gelatin capsules. Such dosing forms, we would say gives the modern man a convenient option to take these herbs rather than through concoctions.
There are also multiple vitamins that are packaged as supplements.Vitamins such as vitamin A, D,E, C and B complexes. In combinations or as single components, each package has its own role. That is the nature of supplements.
The use of supplements
The history of supplements’ use dates back to 1916 when the first supplement was put to life. This supplement was called the Nastin’s Yeast Vitamon tablet. In it was a combination of nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins and a herb known as Nux vomica.
The tablet claimed to increase appetite, manage constipation, aid digestion and clear the skin. This tablet got alot of criticism from the conventional health system; the medical professionals.
However recently, the use of supplements has become more common. A study published in the JAMA journal revealed that the use of supplements has risen so much in recent years. In 2013, this survey reported that about 50% of all Americans were on a supplement for their body vitality.
In another study , it was established that children between 1 and 5 years were the largest consumers of dietary supplements.
Supplements are being used for a number of functions; to improve sleep, for faster and deeper sleep, to relieve stress and much more.
Why has the use of supplements become very common?
There are quite a number of reasons why. But in this article, we'll look at the two most important ones; the nutritional gap & information abundance.
We are living in the modern era. Recently with the invent of Genetically modified foods, there were claims that these could affect the nutritional value of our foods. Whether true or false, modern diets may not always provide all the essential nutrients the body needs.
Look at how you live your day; what you eat through the day and weigh it in terms of nutritional value. The modern diet clearly does not provide us with all the essential nutrients we need. This is where supplements come in and get popularized.
A one Medical Doctor, Tieraona Low Dog, also the author of ‘ Fortify your life’ informs that “ most people are not getting the nutrients they need even if they believe they eat a healthy diet.” Therefore, supplements offer a way to fill nutritional gaps, especially for individuals with specific dietary restrictions or preferences such as children and the elderly.
2. Information abundance
Still relatable to the modern era, there is alot of information in our faces. With such information sprouts health awareness. There's a growing awareness of health and wellness among the people; with more people actively seeking ways to improve their overall well-being. Supplements are often seen as a convenient way to support health goals as they are natural.
Do supplements really work?
Now that the importance of proper nutrition is known to us, do supplements really work? Yes they do!
During the second world war, American men were called upon for military service but it was found that one third of them were fond to suffer from disabilities that stemed from poor nutrition.
To manage this, President Franklin Roosevelt convened a National Nutrition Conference in Washington to find a solution for these people. In this conference, the President recognized the importance of proper nutrition to building strength and stamina.
The conference agreed on a solution; dietary supplements. The government of Franklin D. Roosevelt then set to sponsor Dietary supplements for six Vitamins and two minerals; the first set of government sponsored Dietary supplements. Poor nutrition was the problem, dietary supplements were the recommended solution.
Studies have established that vitamins and minerals have several benefits including reducing the incidence of cancer, lowering blood pressure, enhancing normal body functions like proper digestion and more.
Supplementation with vitamins like A, have a positive effect on eyesight. Supplementation with vitamin D has shown to improve performance in athletes and reduce pain in arthritis. Oral magnesium supplements have an effect of lowering blood pressure by physiological mechanisms. You will remember the importance of Vitamin D in the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Herbal supplements have also been shown to manage and treat chronic liver disease, lower cholesterol levels, and increase wound healing. Alot and more is the power of supplementation to our diets.
There are numerous supplements on the market. Functionality supplements such as brain boosters, immune boosters, supplements for better mood, Destress supplements etc. You just got to choose the best suit for you.
It is however important to consult your healthcare providers about some of these supplements before you can start taking them as some of these vitamins when taken in excess have serious adverse effects on the body. For Example Vitamin D in excess causes arterial calcification, hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias.
Although the use of supplements to enhance body functionality and treat diseases has been facing criticism ever since the 1916s, the actual role of supplements is evident as seen in some studies.
More often than not, it is quite hard to know that we are not getting adequate nutrients from our diets. Supplementation is therefore an important diet hack for body health. Only remember to check with your health care provider before you start some of these supplements.