Supplement Pills vs. Food in 2020

Supplement Pills vs. Food in 2020

Nowadays, taking supplement pills is thought to be a wise choice. You want to stay on the safe side and supplement your body with whatever you think it's missing. An omega-3 supplement helps you compensate for the absence of fish in your diet. A multivitamin takes care of the remaining percentage of your RDA, while amino-acids replace the protein you need throughout the day. However, you need to pay close attention to your diet more than to the latest supplement on the market. 

Most people think that if they don't get enough vitamin C from their diet, they can make it up by taking a pill, but nature doesn't work the same way as factories. The food contains plenty of other nonessential nutrients, which are beneficial for the entire body. When eating an orange, you might associate it with vitamin C. But it also contains fiber, minerals, and antioxidants, which a vitamin C pill doesn't have. If you want to achieve noticeable health results, focus on natural sources rather than synthetic. [1] 

No one is saying that there are zero benefits to taking supplements. But, before rushing to the drugstore because you don't have time or resources to add enough vitamin D or A to your diet, check out this article.

The following slides will talk about the category of people who need supplements, the drawbacks of relying on pills and multivitamins, and the importance of a healthy diet before resorting to a trip to the pharmacy.



Do You Need a Dietary Supplement?

There isn't enough evidence to prove the benefits of synthetic nutrients for those who follow a healthy diet. If you are eating fruits and vegetables of all colors, meat, poultry, fish, legumes, whole foods, nuts, seeds, and dairy products, there is no need for you to take supplements. You need them only if there's a deficit. This means it is hard for you to get enough nutrients in adequate amounts from diet alone. 

You will probably need to take a supplement if you are part of one of the following categories of people:

  • Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women. The moment you get pregnant, your body's nutrient intake requirement increases significantly. Prenatal vitamins and any other supplement your doctor recommends (folic acid, iron, etc.) will keep you and your baby on the safe side. The same applies to women who breastfeed. [2] 
  • Vegans and vegetarians. Animal products contain minerals and vitamins such as vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Following a plant-based diet might put you at a high risk of mineral and vitamin deficiency. Taking synthetic nutrients might be beneficial for your health. [3]
  • Seniors. As you age, your body might have higher demands to keep you healthy. Therefore, depending on your situation, you might need to take vitamins and minerals. The most common issue at an older age is the proneness to vitamin D deficiency. [4]


Regardless of the information provided beforehand, if you suffer from chronic ailments such as cancer, anemia, kidney, heart, and/or bone disease, you need to consult your doctor. Your physician is the only one capable of prescribing the synthetic nutrient you need.



Side Effects of Supplement Ingredients

Multivitamins are some of the most popular supplements. Some studies show that they have no effect, even in the long run. The same is applicable for single or paired vitamins and antioxidants. As long as you can get all the needed nutrients from your diet, supplementation is not necessary. [5]

Apart from the fact that they do not benefit everyone, some people might experience side effects. When you buy them, pay close attention to the ingredient list. Some of them contain components that can affect the body or higher amount of minerals or vitamins than required. This is likely to happen if you take a high dose, mix many different types of supplements, or take it instead of your medicine. [6]

Upcoming is a list of possible side effects depending on the type of synthetic nutrient:

  • Magnesium pills could cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. [7]
  • Vitamin K can interfere with blood thinners. [6]
  • Antioxidants might reduce the efficacy of some cancer treatments. [6]
  • Too much Vitamin D can lead to kidney issues and other unpleasant effects. [8]
  • Vitamin E could cause nausea, dizziness, gut problems, allergic reactions, headaches, etc. An overdose might be fatal, especially if you have any health issues. It is recommended to take vitamin E only after you seek the advice of your physician. [9]
  • Too much vitamin A can lead to grave and even potentially fatal effects. [10] 
  • Mineral overdose can cause increased thirst or urination, stomach and colon problems, dermatological issues, tingly feeling in or around your mouth, changes in menstrual periods, shallow breathing, weak and rapid pulse, confusion, muscle weakness, and seizures (convulsions). [10]

The risks previously mentioned can be easily avoided if you have the correct info before taking synthetic nutrients. You need to know the potential benefits, the safety risks, the proper dose, the duration of the treatment, and the way to take each supplement. Also, make sure you choose quality products.



A Supplement Is Meant To Supplement

Good health is the result of a healthy diet, regular exercise, quality sleep, and low amounts of stress. No supplement can replace that. A common conception these days is that if we take multivitamins or other synthetic nutrients, we can have fast food, unhealthy snacks, soda, sweets, etc. Our busy lives push us to opt for processed meals because they're more convenient. However, the body needs nutrients, phytochemicals, and other nonessential elements to thrive.

Vegetables and fruits are crucial for preventing chronic ailments, but there are days when we don't have time to eat an apple. Then, we resort to supplements because our priorities are nowhere close to having a healthy body. All this until we reach the doctor's office.

Natural nutrients should always come first. A supplement is called a supplement for a reason. Therefore, try to eat as many nutrient-dense foods as possible throughout the week, and in the end, you can consider the need to supplement your diet. [11]