A health supplement is usually a manufactured herbal product intended to augment one’s daily diet by taking either a pill, capsule, liquid or powder form. A supplement may provide essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients both naturally extracted from food materials or which are synthetic so as to increase the daily amount of the intake. Health supplements may be classified according to the intended use. This includes therapeutic, preventive and curative health supplements.
The most common and well-known categories include the therapeutic health supplements. They are usually used to improve the functioning of the immune system and to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. These include vitamins for the development and maintenance of the cardiovascular system; for the promotion of cell growth and tissue repair; for the promotion of general health and wellbeing; and for the treatment of diseases and disorders. Common therapeutic dietary supplements include vitamin A, C and E for the maintenance of the skin and hair; folic acid, antioxidants and beta carotene for healthy vision; niacin, pantothenic acid, probiotics and herbs such as aloe, cherries, ginseng, gingko biloba, green tea and Heathrow root. Herbal dietary supplements may also contain minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, silica and magnesium.
The most common and effective dietary supplements are vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Vitamins A, C and E are mandatory for good health as they help in cell development and repair. The other vitamins, which are beneficial for overall health, include the B-complex, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, pyridoxine and thiazide copper. Herbal dietary supplements, on the other hand, may contain herbs such as aloe, peppermint, catnip, chamomile, sage, comfrey, alfalfa and burdock.
Antioxidants prevent premature aging by reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. Health experts believe that nutritional supplements play a vital role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They recommend people to consume dietary supplements regularly. Many health supplements for the prevention and treatment of common diseases and disorders have also been introduced in the market. They include beta carotene, coenzyme Q10, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Deficiency of essential nutrients hampers the normal functioning of many body systems. The most important component in a healthy diet is protein, which provides the energy required by the body. However, people suffering from chronic diseases and aging are often deficient in protein. A good dietary supplement to augment the protein level in the body can effectively treat these conditions.
Health supplements can also prevent and treat vitamin deficiencies. A number of disorders including cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and bowel disorders may be treated with the help of these supplements. Calcium and magnesium are the most important substances contained in such health supplements. In fact, a deficiency of these substances results in weakening of the bones. Thus, health supplements containing calcium, magnesium or potassium may be used to prevent weakening of the bones.
It has recently been discovered that cancer cells cannot grow without the help of vitamin E. Therefore, health supplements enriched with vitamin E are highly recommended by doctors for the treatment of various cancer diseases. Similarly, a deficiency of vitamin A can result in age-related eye diseases and cataracts. A deficiency of vitamin B can lead to different types of skin diseases including eczema, psoriasis and acne. A health supplement enriched with vitamin B complex can help in preventing and curing such problems. Folic acid is an important substance contained in most health supplements, which prevents birth defects in foetuses.
Different kinds of health supplements are manufactured for different purposes. However, it is very important to choose a health supplement carefully after conducting thorough research about its ingredients. A visit to a doctor can help you make the right choice.