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Many people in different parts of the world are currently taking a wide range of health or dietary supplements. Some consumers take these compounds occasionally and others daily (Pacier and Martirosyan 101). The common supplements available include botanicals, enzymes, vitamins, and herbs. Consumers can use different forms of the supplements such as powders, tablets, capsules, energy bars, and drinks. The common vitamins believed to boost the functioning of the body include vitamins E, C, and D (Marik and Flemmer 13).
Some supplements can be relevant for individuals who lack certain compounds and nutrients in their diets. For instance, researchers have indicated that folic acid can be used to decrease chances of defects during childbirth. Heart disease has been minimized through the use of omega-3 acid. However, analysts and researchers have been divided over the use and effectiveness of health supplements. This paper gives a detailed analysis in order to establish whether people really need these vitamins and health supplements.
How Supplements Work in the Body
Studies have indicated that every health supplement consumed by an individual will definitely be used in the body in one way or another. The ingested compound will promote the functioning of the body and ensure a number of scarce nutrients are available. Every product marketed as a supplement will have various contents, ingredients, and flavors (Marik and Flemmer 16). The manufacturer will suggest the quaintly that should be consumed by the targeted individual. More often than not, healthcare workers will be required to guide the consumer in order to take the right amount.
Individuals who do not eat healthy or nutritious food materials might benefit from these health supplements (Pacier and Martirosyan 101). When such supplements are consumed, they will be digested and used in the body to promote functioning. More often than not, the vitamins and supplements will be absorbed into the bloodstream and support the functioning of the body. The key ingredients will be responsible for some of the major body activities and boost immunity. For instance, vitamin D and calcium can be included in the health supplements to keep the bones of the user stronger. Bone loss can also be reduced through the use of calcium. As indicated earlier, folic acid can be recommended to minimize chances of birth defects (Marik and Flemmer 17). Unfortunately, most of these supplements have been observed to contain various active ingredients.
Do People Really Need these Supplements?
The use of compounds labeled as health supplements is something that received undivided attention from researchers, scientists, and nutritionists. These issues have emerged because the supplements have been observed to present both opportunities and risks to the individuals who use them. Quality is the first issue that should be considered before determining the effectiveness of these products. Dietary supplements are usually unique and complex in nature. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been using different regulations to ensure these compounds are healthy and acceptable. However, the ingredients contained in the supplements have been increasing significantly. Consequently, people have been consuming more nutrients than they might expect (Guallar et al. 7). The consumption of excess nutrients can result in numerous health challenges.
Some dietary compounds and supplements can be used to manage various health conditions and promote the health of an individual (Yap et al. 1840). Some vitamins have been supported by health professionals because that can produce positive results. For example, vitamin B folate is helpful to childbearing women. A woman who consumes adequate amounts of the vitamin will have increased chances of giving birth to a healthy child. Some supplements rich in calcium and iron can boost the functioning of different body organs. Compounds that contain omega-3 fatty acids can help individuals who have heart disease. The fatty acids should be obtained from fish oils in order to function effectively.
Although scientific evidence supports the use of some dietary supplements, the biggest question is whether people should consume the compounds. A number of studies have been done to explore the challenges associated with these supplements. Studies have indicated that it was wrong for people to consume most of the products marketed by the nutritional supplement industry (Guallar et al. 7). It is undeniable that the players in the industry have always supported the effectiveness of such compounds. However, evidence show conclusively that the food materials present numerous health problems.
A study conducted by Oxford University in 2014 indicated that many people who took vitamin supplements had increased chances of dying prematurely (Mourali par. 7). The vitamins were found to offer no support or protection against cancer, stroke, or heart disease (Mourali par. 7). Another study observed that supplements had no benefits to the user. It was also indicated that the supplements were associated with increased mortality rates. Individuals who consumed increased levels of iron supplements recorded high mortality rates (Mourali par. 3).
A combination of vitamins and excess supplements has been identified as a risk factor for various cancers. Additionally, studies have indicated that there is not benefit from supplements and minerals aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer (Veasey et al. 6119). A study by Mourali indicated that individuals who consumed fish oils as supplements were at risk of developing different complications such as prostate cancer (par. 18). Men who consume vitamin E and selenium supplements were also found to have higher chances of developing the cancer.
Vitamin D tablets and supplements have been challenged because they have been associated with poor outcomes. Nutritionists have indicated clearly that individuals who have low levels of vitamin D are the ones who lead poor lifestyles. The problem can only be addressed by getting enough sunlight instead of consuming the vitamin supplements (Marik and Flemmer 17). The strategies embraced by manufacturers and marketers of these supplements encourage more people to consume huge quantities. Consequently, the persons have exposed themselves to a wide range of conditions and cancers that affect their life outcomes.
Some compounds will interact with various prescription drugs and eventually result in numerous health problems (Marik and Flemmer 18). For instance, vitamin K has been found to minimize the effectiveness of coumadin in the body. This is a blood thinner compound that aids in the clotting of blood. Supplements grouped under the antioxidant bracket such as vitamins E and C can reduce the adequacy and efficiency of chemotherapies intended to treat cancers.
Socio-Economic, Legal, and Marketing Aspects
There are various legal, marketing, and socio-economic issues governing the production, marketing, and consumption of vitamins and supplemental compounds. To begin with, the use of these compounds has been associated with changing social behaviors and lifestyles. More people are leading inappropriate lifestyles and using supplements to boost their well-being.
This practice has led to numerous health problems. Social problems such as obesity and diabetes have been linked with the compounds. Most of the individuals who die prematurely due to the negative implications of these supplements disorient the economic sustainability of every community. The government incurs numerous expenses and costs in an attempt to regulate the industry (Veasey et al. 6123). The costs incurred when supporting individuals who are affected by these compounds continue to increase.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implements stringent laws and guidelines to dictate the production of different vitamins and supplements. Unfortunately, the agency has not managed to record positive results due to the complexity of the issues associated with the industry. Efficient laws will be required in order to minimize the detrimental implications of these compounds (Veasey et al. 6123). The area of marketing has a share of the problems associated with the health supplements sector. Manufacturers have been using inappropriate messages and lies to attract more customers. New regulations will therefore be needed in order to deal with these problems.
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This discussion shows clearly that the health supplements industry is reshaping people’s behaviors, eating habits, and outcomes. Although the consumed supplements have been known to present various benefits, the undeniable fact is that such products have adverse effects on the human body. The detrimental impacts of these supplements outweigh the benefits (Yap et al. 1841). It would therefore be appropriate for human beings to eat healthy food materials, balance their diets, and engage in physical exercises. These approaches will maximize their well-being and reduce cases of premature deaths.
Guallar, Eliseo, et al. “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.” Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-13.
Marik, Paul, and Mark Flemmer. “Do Dietary Supplements Have Beneficial Health Effects in Industrialized Nations: What Is the Evidence?” Journal of Parental and Enteral Nutrition, vol. 36, no. 2, 2012, pp. 1-19.
Mourali, Amir. “The Dark Truth about Nutritional Supplements.” AlterNet. 2015.
Pacier, Callen, and Danik Martirosyan. “Vitamin C: Optimal Dosages, Supplementation and Use in Disease Prevention.” Functional Foods in Health Disease, vol. 5, no. 3, 2015, pp. 89-107.
Veasey, Rachel, et al. “The Effects of Supplementation with a Vitamin and Mineral Complex with Guaraná Prior to Fasted Exercise on Affect, Exertion, Cognitive Performance, and Substrate Metabolism: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 6109-6129.
Yap, Constance, et al. “Vitamin D Supplementation and the Effects on Glucose Metabolism During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Diabetes Care, vol. 37, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1837-1844.