Do supplements really work?

pHion Balance  |  0 Comment

In short, the answer to the title question is YES, supplements absolutely work and this post will illustrate some of the most popular ways we use supplements. In my next post, I will specifically cover the relationship between supplements and an alkaline diet in detail. For this post I want to provide some background information about supplements, including defining what a supplement is and how it works in the body and how they are most commonly used.

Supplements are over the counter, non-prescription tools used to add to add or “supplement” a healthy diet. They include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, prebiotics, probiotics, athletic performance supplements and weight loss aids. In addition to being made from actual vitamins and minerals, supplements are produced from leaves, seeds, roots, berries, stems, flowers as well as ingredients such as ginseng and garlic. Other supplements come from oils, amino acids, glandular extracts, hormones and amino acids as well as other organic ingredients. Approximately ½ of all Americans take at least one type of supplement in the form of pills, powders, capsules, extracts and even items such as protein bars.

Most supplements, for example vitamins, work by building up a surplus in the body. For example, Biotin, a member of the B vitamins, assists in the maintenance of hair, skin and nails and is usually bundled with other “beauty vitamins” such as lycopene and Vitamin E, to name a few. A deficiency in Biotin can lead to scaly skin, hair loss and brittle nails and using this supplement along can help correct this deficiency However, don’t expect to see any changes after only a few days of taking your supplements; while it varies for each supplement and each person, it can take weeks to months to see or feel improvements. Newly introduced nutrients must pass through the harsh conditions of the digestive system and be absorbed into the blood where they are stored until there is a surplus. Once this surplus stored to overcapacity, the nutrients will get sent where they are needed.

While supplements are very helpful for individuals whose nutrition has been compromised, such as the elderly, chronically ill or immuno-compromised, they are also useful tools for anyone seeking an optimal level of health and fitness. They can boost the immune system, stabilize mood and improve general body functions. Certain key vitamins assist in forming bone and other body tissues as well as regulating body metabolism. Antioxidants protect cells by destroying potentially dangerous free radicals. Mineral supplementation works to improve the body’s ability in basic bone formation as well as maintaining normal function of the cardiac and digestive system.

While the multivitamin remains a popular product, the use of bundling specific nutrients in order to target certain health issues is no longer just in the health food aisle but in your doctor’s prescription as a tool to heal ailments from mental health issues to irritable bowel syndrome.  As consumers, many of us are familiar the bundled supplements used by athletes to help build muscle mass and reduce fatigue. Equally familiar are the joint health supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. For most of us, specialized supplements can give us the greatest benefits to fit our needs.

Here's to your wellness,


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