Advantages & Disadvantages of Nutritional Supplements for Human Health

You can browse through many online health resources that detail the pros & cons of using nutritional supplements

People nowadays make use of nutritional supplements due to a variety of reasons; the most commonly touted of which is the (now endemic) scarcity of the nutrients that they wish to acquire in the very soil habitat that begets their primary food source: Plants.

In this post, we will not only be analyzing the need for nutritional supplementation, but also the pros and cons of regular synthetic nutrient intake – so as to leave you (the reader) more informed on these important subjects.

Why the Need for Nutritional Supplementation Sets In…

Plants constitute the first rung in the ladder of any food chain because they provide the essential sustenance that both herbivores and omnivores need to meet their daily bodily requirements for survival. The energy and nutrients (yielded directly or indirectly from the varied processes of cellular respiration) that are collectively acquired from plant-based foods are further reprocessed by the organisms that happen to consume them, with this cycle deferred to other forms of life almost indefinitely until the last member of the food chain (usually belonging to the homo sapiens family) is reached. For more info on Food Chains & Cycles, check out the many online resources available on the topic (preferably through a high-speed Internet subscription plan like Optimum Internet).

By this point, however, the nutrient profile of the food ingested by humans is rendered largely deficient of the health-promoting compounds that they require in adequate dosages to remain healthy and viable.

The problem, as it has been briefly alluded to above, starts literally from the ground/soil conditions that may be considered akin to the womb from which virtually all sentient life on the planet springs. When this proverbial ‘edifice of creation’ becomes gradually depleted of the substances that ensure the continuity of the species, the only recourse left to human beings (the historically conscious ‘tillers of the land’) is two-fold. They can either reinforce the soil with the minerals-variety that has been lost over the passage of time (through the use of such chemical additives as synthetic fertilizers & pesticides), or they can choose to make do with a number of nutritional supplements (normally sold in O.T.C preparations).

Taking Note of Some of the Advantages of Nutritional Supplements

Health supplements, when considered retrospectively, prove ideal for those people who may suffer from a food allergy or two, and so may not be able to ingest certain varieties of food products into their digestive systems. Rather than missing out completely on the myriad of health benefits offered by the different classes of vitamins and minerals contained in the nutritional substances so eschewed, individuals have the option of obtaining them alternately from these supplemental aids.

The bioavailability of certain nutrients (which is the degree to which they are absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestines for further bodily assimilation) is a crucial factor to consider with regard to any health substance. Some minerals and compounds (like Curcumin) require pairing with others to enable their maximal absorption into the host’s blood system, while others (like Magnesium) should preferably be taken in isolation. On this front, health supplements oftentimes offer the significant advantage of increased bioavailability – through the employment of such carrying devices as enteric coatings and lipid capsules.

Some nutritional authorities draw analogies between food supplements and health insurance policies, in that the former compounds offer the peace-of-mind which comes with knowing that a person’s daily nutritional requirements are being met fully (and across the board). This understanding can impart a great deal of psychological assurance to people who may be on restrictive diets – aimed at losing weight, or correcting some other pressing health condition. Vegetarians, in particular, are strongly advised by their healthcare professionals to take regular supplements of compounds like CoQ10, L-Carnitine and L-Arginine (which are normally found in animal tissues – primarily organ meat – and which the said category of people usually lack in their eating regimens).

And Making Sense of a Few Disadvantages

But the regular use of these manufactured bioactive agents comes with some important caveats, which if ignored, can result in drawing more harm than good in the lives of their consumers.

‘Too much of a good thing is bad’, as a popular adage goes – and this prescription certainly applies in the case of nutritional supplements, which can often render fatal consequences for the individuals who take them in excess of their tolerable upper limit. People with existing medical conditions, who may also be taking some necessary pharmaceutical formulas (in addition to their supplemental wares) to offset their symptoms, are particularly advised by their doctors to monitor & report any signs of drug interactions that they may experience; with this comprising a major drawback of taking supplements carelessly.

Another popular disadvantage, ushered in when a certain individual becomes reliant (for the most part) on nutritional supplements rather than his/her regular diet to offset daily nutrient requirements, is the important issue of costs. As anyone familiar with purchasing O.T.C nutritional aids would know, these packaged substances are expensive – with supplement companies having created something of a monopoly for their brands in the consumer marketplace, and reaping in tens of thousands of dollars every month. Because of this, many people choose to wait until the holidays (or some other public occasion/festival) to place their orders – since these times of the year are renowned for their discounts and special pricing offers.

A major concern with the use of nutritional supplements is that (particularly in the U.S) their manufacturing and sales initiatives are not regulated by any overarching governmental agency like the FDA – which scrupulously monitors, and as per some accounts has a great stake, in the workings of the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, supplement brands (be they startups, or seasoned companies) are free to inscribe whatever marketing claims that support their sales drives onto their front covers; even if these may not be sufficiently backed up by rigorous lab testing or research studies.

This results in particular problems (and the accruement of further health issues) for those people who hold a characteristic skepticism of the pharmaceutical industry in their minds, and may actively disregard the directions of their doctors in the favor of their self-prescriptions.

There have been cases when bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, geared as they normally are towards making massive gains in muscle, used protein (whey & casein) supplements against the backdrop of a silent form of kidney disease. As such, they did not notice the decrements in their mean urine output levels, because of which many later on suffered from chronic kidney failure. This problem, of course, could have easily been averted; had the zealous muscle builders considered keeping their doctors abreast of their health statuses. Not making use of the protein supplements could undoubtedly have been another good option.

Your Decision to Supplement is Contingent on YOU

Based on the concise listing of the pros & cons of nutritional supplementation listed in this post, you can see for yourself that dealing with these food adjuncts is like dealing with a double-edged sword. So the decision to finally purchases some for yourself rests solely on your shoulders, and should mandatorily take into account such factors as your age, sex, existing disease conditions, current activity levels, allergy profile and complete bloodwork (among any other gauging criterion deemed important to verify by your GP).

Nutritional supplements, in a nutshell, can embellish your life with a great number of (often unparalleled) health benefits – when used appropriately, and with due caution. In the opposite case, they can prove to be hazardous for your health, and even fatal; should you treat them with complacency.

To find out more about the different varieties of nutritional supplements currently available within the consumer marketplace, subscribe to a reliable high-speed Internet service plan from Optimum (attainable through a timely ‘Optimum near me’ web search).

About Alex Brian

Alex Brian is an entrepreneur, marketer, and writer. As Hawaiian resident, he loves beaches and bathing in the sun. That's where he finds his inspiration to author in-depth guides that teach E-commerce store owners ways to manage, grow and scale their business. In a former life, Alex worked as a Optimum Cable Customer Service representative and generates revenue through its website.