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Food Vs Supplements: Which Way is Best to Get Nutrition?

Studies and research have shown that nutrients gained from whole foods are associated with a decreased risk of death. On the other end, an excessive intake of specific supplements has a detrimental effect on health.

When we talk of dietary supplements, we are focused on enzymes, amino acids, herbs, minerals, and vitamins. It has been noted that the intake of supplements helps boost your nutrient intake. As a result, a lot of health suppliers provide these supplements in a variety of forms like liquid powders, capsules, and tablets for more efficient delivery of nutrients.

When it comes to nurturing your body, supplements should NOT replace complete meals. That’s why they are called supplements because they are there to supplement your diet and not as a substitution for complete whole foods.

Data on U.S. Supplement Consumption

In 2009, a survey showed that 65% of the U.S. population takes dietary supplements. And by 2018, it jumped to 75%, which shows that consumer confidence and trust in nutritional supplements is growing strong. This led researchers to hypothesize that wellness and modern-day health regimen will always have dietary supplements as its mainstay.

Amongst the most popular supplements are calcium and vitamin D as well as other vitamin and mineral supplements. However, in the past five years, botanicals and herbals are gaining traction, especially turmeric supplements. According to surveys, the main reason people take dietary supplements is to support overall health and wellness.

Why High Intake of Supplements Can Harm You

There are many reasons why taking too much of a supplement can be harmful. One reason is that they may contain strong biological effects that can be harmful or life-threatening, especially when taken with other medication or supplements. Example, iron, vitamin D, and A can be unhealthy when taken in high amounts. Excessive calcium can cause palpitations and other muscle issues.

Dr. Zhang has stated that the studies they have conducted showed an increased level of nutrient intake with supplement use. However, the nutrients with beneficial health associations were from whole foods, which are not entirely seen in supplement intake. Foods as a source of nutrition trumps supplement intake.

Nutrients from Food Vs Supplements

Although many people use supplements, a recent study has shown that there is no advantage or decreased risk of premature death and heart diseases when you supplement with vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D, and multivitamins. But, folic acid and B-vitamin complex has shown to be effective in risk reduction of cardiovascular disease.

While ongoing studies are still being conducted on supplement benefits, some studies provide evidence of the harmful effect of excessive nutrient intake. Overconsumption of supplements has been linked to the risk of certain cancers. Here are the key findings:

  • Excess calcium supplement intake of at least 1,000-mg daily is associated with early death due to cancer.
  • Sufficient intake of vitamins K and A as well as zinc from food is linked to lower chances of dying from heart problems.

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