Taking dietary supplements to supplement the body nutrient need would be beneficial but taking it without the body’s nutrient assessment may pose a certain health risk. The arguments for and against the dietary supplements are as follows:
Arguments for supporting the dietary supplements:
- It corrects the nutrient deficiency and supports the increased nutrient needs. Such as folate supplements during pregnancy, loss of blood during menstruation and the need for iron supplements due to the same.
- It improves nutrient status. Especially for people who do not eat enough food, vegetarians, and vegans, who restrict their diet, need dietary supplements to fulfill the nutrient demand.
- It boosts the immune system and thereby, improves the body’s defenses and reduces disease risks.
- In case of disease, the body does not get enough nutrients from food. Thereby, dietary supplements are required.
- Lactose intolerant people or people who do not take milk products need vitamin D supplements.
- Arguments against the dietary supplements:
- In specific conditions, the supplements should be avoided. Such as, men and post-menopausal women should not take iron supplements because excess iron is harmful, smokers should prevent the use of beta-carotene as it increases the chances of lung cancer, and vitamin A should not be taken by post-menopausal women as it increases the chance of hip fracture and reduces the bone density. Vitamin E supplements should be avoided by the patient who has undergone a surgery because vitamin E acts as a blood thinner.
- The supplement may contain excess nutrients or some metals that may cause toxicity.
- The substance present in the dietary supplements is pure and thereby, it may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.
- The dietary supplement may not contain nutrients what exactly is required and in the specific form.
- It may have misleading claims.