Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nutritional Supplements: Are They for You?

When deciding whether you need or want to take nutritional supplements, there are a few things you should know first. First of all, you should know what vitamins and minerals can do for you, and what they cannot.

Many people think if they take vitamins, minerals and other forms of nutritional supplements that they can eat anything they want and not have to worry about an otherwise balanced diet.

First, vitamins and minerals in any form can't replace food, so you still have to eat properly to obtain the necessary proteins, carbohydrates and sugars that your body needs for optimal functioning. While vitamins and minerals don't contain calories, they don't provide energy either.

Nutritional supplements should never be substituted for nutrients found in foods either. Many people don't realize that our bodies don't manufacture vitamins or minerals, even though our body systems need them to survive on a molecular level. The only way we get enough of these essential ingredients is through a properly balanced diet, at times enhanced with supplements.

You can compare the necessity of vitamins and minerals to the spark plugs in your car. If they're not firing just right, your car will still run, but not smoothly or to the best of its capacity. Nutritional supplements offer the same benefits to the workings of the human body. You can't see them, but they are a vital component to the workings of everything in your body, from cell structures to organ systems.

For those who eat a properly balanced diet, it may not be necessary to take vitamin and mineral supplements. But let's be honest. These days, who eats properly all the time? Considering that we get a bulk of those vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, and that most people don't eat enough of either, it's important to ingest supplements in order to prevent health problems that begin through poor nutrition.

A vitamin or mineral deficiency in your body can cause all sorts of problems, from acne to disease processes. Those who smoke or drink also need increased vitamins and minerals to counteract the damage caused by alcohol or nicotine. Young children experiencing growth spurts need proper amounts of vitamins and minerals to ensure bone health, muscle growth and organ tissue development. Older people need to replenish stores of vitamins and minerals that their bodies don't process so well any more, and everyone in between needs to maintain proper levels of nutritional components to provide optimal health benefits.

Most vitamin and mineral supplements come in a variety of forms, from capsules to tablets to gel-caps. Some are big, some are small, but to be honest, most of them smell and taste funny. However, most people take them with juice or water, but always read the labels to make sure you are following dosage and dietary instructions, as some should be taken on a full stomach, others on an empty one.

There are a number of popular nutritional supplement brands out there, and when considering any of them, it's a good idea to know and understand what vitamins and minerals are, what they do for your body, and to determine if the brand you choose will deliver the product that you are paying for. Take the time to research national nutritional supplement brands, don't believe everything you read, and above all, when in doubt, ask your primary care provider for advice.

Brue Baker, is an expert on natural health and fitness who has helped people from all across the country sky-rocket their health and well-being. Find out how you can get your hands on the best natural supplements at:

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