Dietary supplements are preparations, which can be a source of valuable substances that have a nutritional effect and have a positive effect on the work of the human body. These products can complement the daily diet and support the functioning of the system also in times of increased demand for individual nutrients.

However, it is worth remembering that dietary supplements should be used sensibly and in moderation. Accidental supplementation does not make any sense, but taking preparations, which can respond to the individual needs of the body can be a good solution, supporting the work of the whole system and improving well-being.

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplement is a concentrated source of valuable substances, which can positively affect the functioning of the human body.

According to the definition, a dietary supplement is a food, which can be consumed to supplement the daily diet. It can be a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals or other substances, which have a nutritional or other physiological effect. A dietary supplement must be marketed in a form that allows its dosage, namely in the form of tablets, capsules, ampoules with liquid, sachets with powder or dragees.

The permissible maximum level of vitamins and minerals and other substances distinguished by a nutritional effect or other physiological effect in dietary supplements must guarantee consumers that the use of the preparation in accordance with the guidelines will be safe for human health and life.

Detailed requirements regarding the composition and labelling of dietary supplements are set out in the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 9 October 2007 on the composition and labelling of dietary supplements (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 1951, as amended).

Dietary supplements and medicines - how do they differ?

According to the law, a dietary supplement is classified as a food product and can be a supplement to the daily diet. Therefore, it cannot be confused with a medicinal preparation.

Medicine is a preparation that has healing properties - it can prevent diseases or support their treatment. Before introducing a drug to the market, the product must undergo a number of clinical trials, which will guarantee the safety of its use and confirm the beneficial effects on the human body. Medicines must also meet stringent requirements and even after they are placed on the market, they still need to be tested for possible side effects.

Dietary supplements, on the other hand, do not have medicinal properties. However, they can complement the daily diet, providing the body with valuable vitamins, minerals or other substances, which can have a nutritional effect and positively affect the human body and its proper functioning. Bringing dietary supplements to the market is a bit simpler than drugs, but a dietary supplement must also be considered safe before it is widely available to consumers.

Types of dietary supplements

The basic division of dietary supplements concerns the way they are obtained. It can therefore be distinguished:

  • synthetic dietary supplements, which can be formed by numerous chemical reactions,
  • natural dietary supplements, which are obtained from raw materials occurring naturally in nature.

Supplements can also be distinguished by their composition. Then you can meet, i.a. with vitamin preparations and rich in minerals, dietary supplements containing essential fatty acids, products, which are a source of dietary fiber, probiotics, enzymes or amino acids.

Another division of dietary supplements concerns their impact on the body and more specifically on individual organs, systems or functions. Thus, we can distinguish i.a. slimming supplements, supporting memory and concentration, preparations for athletes, supplements strengthening hair and nails or supporting bones and joints and delaying the aging process.

When is it worth using dietary supplements?

A properly balanced and varied diet should provide the body with all the necessary macro- and micronutrients and ensure the proper functioning of the whole human body.

Sometimes, however, the diet used does not contribute all the important nutrients to the body. To prevent the occurrence of deficiencies, which can negatively affect the body's work and contribute to the development of many serious diseases, it is worth including appropriate dietary supplements in the daily menu, which can be valuable support.

It is also worth using the benefits of supplementation in the period of increased demand, e.g. among athletes performing intense sports efforts, when the body's needs are greater than during normal functioning and the daily diet is not a sufficient source of important nutrients.

Diet supplements may also be helpful among people using dietary restrictions, e.g. among vegetarians or vegans. Taking appropriate preparations can prevent the development of deficiencies and have a positive effect on well-being.

Another situation when dietary supplements can be a valuable support are possible disturbances in the absorption of individual components of the diet. When the body does not work properly and the ingredients consumed with the daily menu are not absorbed into the body in the right amounts, a great solution may be to use supplements rich in the missing ingredient.

The role of dietary supplements

According to the definition, dietary supplements can complement the daily menu. Their main task is therefore to supplement existing deficiencies or counteract their occurrence. In addition, dietary supplements can meet the increased needs of the body, positively affect the work of the entire system and the well-being of the consumer.

It is worth remembering that the use of dietary supplements will not replace a proper and varied diet, but it can help the body when it needs it - when modifying the menu is difficult or impossible to implement.

Are dietary supplements harmful?

In accordance with the current regulations, dietary supplements, which are available on the market and are offered to consumers must not pose a threat to human health or life.

The use of supplements in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, the selection of ingredients and the proportions between them, must be safe and must not adversely affect the functioning of the body.

Consuming excessive amounts of preparations may contribute to the occurrence of undesirable side effects, most often from the digestive system. Symptoms can only be the result of erroneous supplementation and result, for example, from exceeding the recommended portions of the product. Undesirable effects should not occur when using preparations in accordance with the information and instructions placed on the packaging or product leaflet.

By paying attention to the body's needs and taking dietary supplements consciously and as recommended, you can feel safe while using them.

How to choose appropriate dietary supplement?

Dietary supplements should be selected individually to the needs of the body. Because the preparations are to support human health and everyday functioning, their inappropriate use may not only not contribute to the desired effect, but also cause the opposite effect from the intended one and negatively affect the functioning of the system.

Therefore, before you start taking dietary supplements, it is worth doing basic tests and consulting a doctor.

When choosing the right supplement, it is worth paying attention to its composition. A good preparation should contain an active substance and should not be a source of artificial additives and fillers. So it is not worth being guided by fashion and advertising, but by the quality and nutritional properties of the product.

What dietary supplements are worth taking?

It is impossible to unambiguously and directly answer the question "what preparation is worth or should be supplemented", because, as we have already mentioned, the selection of appropriate dietary supplements is a very individual matter.

However, similar problems and deficiencies can often be observed among individual groups of people, which is why the division presented below may be a kind of indication of which supplements may be helpful.

Dietary supplements for men

A proper diet is extremely important and is the basic source of valuable nutrients. Sometimes, however, men, especially those who use a monotonous, not very varied diet, may suffer from deficiencies of some ingredients.

Due to the amount of duties or the pace of life, gentlemen often complain about ailments, which may be related to insufficient supply of ingredients such as vitamin D3, B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, selenium or boron.

Dietary supplements for women

Women pay a lot of attention to appearance, which is why they often reach for dietary supplements, which are rich in ingredients such as zinc, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E, biotin, hyaluronic acid or collagen.

In addition, ladies often struggle with thyroid ailments or weakened immunity and then it may be helpful to use preparations containing iodine, selenium, iron, vitamin D3 or B vitamins.

Dietary supplements for the elderly

Among seniors, problems with memory or concentration, as well as with vision and immunity can sometimes be observed. Therefore, among the elderly, it is often recommended to use dietary supplements rich in:

  • vitamin A,
  • zinc,
  • vitamin D3,
  • vitamin C,
  • vitamin K,
  • calcium,
  • lecithin,
  • collagen,
  • magnesium.

Dietary supplements for the athlete

Athletes are a group of people among whom you can observe an increased demand for many important nutrients. This is due to the fact that during intense physical activities valuable ingredients are excreted with sweat from the body. Therefore, among physically active people, it is worth paying attention to the consumption of B vitamins, vitamin D3, magnesium, collagen, vitamin C or E.

Dietary supplements, which can support weight loss

Dietary supplements can support the body in weight reduction. However, it is worth remembering, that the preparations themselves will not contribute to the loss of unnecessary kilograms. Slimming supplements can have a positive effect on the body only when used together with a balanced diet and physical activity.

Substances, which can have a beneficial effect on weight reduction include, i.a., chromium, dietary fiber, linoleic acid, green tea extract or capsaicin.

Dietary supplements, which can strenghten bones and joints

Good condition of the musculoskeletal system is the basis for the proper functioning of the human body. It is thanks to him that we can move, as well as perform various types of physical efforts. With age, however, the condition of bones and joints may deteriorate, which is why it is worth considering the use of dietary supplements, which can support the proper functioning of the musculoskeletal system.

The ingredients, which can positively affect bones and joints includeL: collagen, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, organic sulfur or glucosamine.

Dietary supplements as a daily support for the body

The use of dietary supplements will not replace a healthy and balanced diet, but during the occurrence of deficiencies of valuable nutrients or during periods of increased demand or difficult absorption, dietary supplements may be helpful in maintaining full health.

The use of vitamin preparations or products rich in other valuable nutrients should always be thought out and selected individually to the needs of the consumer. Well-matched supplementation can not only support the proper functioning of the body, but also have a positive effect on well-being.

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