What’s common between a 19-year-old fitness buff, a 34-year-old start-up founder, and a 65-year-old retired individual? They’re all probably taking a daily dose of nutritional supplements. A rapidly growing sector in India, health supplements are expected to grow by 20% by 2023  estimated at INR 80,800 crore . This means that Indians are taking their health seriously and want to invest in improving it. However, for a multi-crore industry, there is barely any guidance for the common man to consume these supplements, and there are a lot of misconceptions around the topic. We bust the myths about nutritional supplements, here.
What Are Nutritional Supplements?
Healthy food is a great way of getting the nutrients for your body. However, with today’s environmental problems and the rise in processed foods, one may not get the necessary nutrition. In fact, often the cooking process also takes away from the food’s health benefits. When food sources fail to provide you with the essential nutrients is where supplements come into the picture.
They fill the gap between what your body needs and what lacks in your daily meals. While they are ideal for fulfilling the missing nutrition, supplements are also used as a preventive measure and for boosting your immunity to fight against age-related or environment-related issues, and to reduce the risk of various health conditions. Usually, these are available as capsules, pills, powders, or liquids.
Busting The Health Supplements Myths
- Nutrition Supplements Can Replace Healthy Food.
The literal meaning of a supplement is to enhance or complete something. This means that it aids the food consumed to make you healthy. Without the right kind of food, your supplements find it tough to improve your immunity and thus, fight diseases.
- Nutrition Pills Will Cure Major Diseases.
Remember that these are not magic pills and simply an addition to your meals. Moreover, these are a preventive measure than a curative one. Hence, they might not cure major or chronic illness. However, with long term use, these can reduce the intensity of your illness  or symptoms.
- Take Supplements Only When You Are Unwell Or Fatigued.
As mentioned, nutritional capsules or drinks boost your immunity and are to be used as a precaution. Hence, a daily dose of these will help create a strong wall in your body to ward off common infections. Additionally, most of these contain vitamins and minerals that provide energy, which takes time to build.
- These Capsules Can Be Taken Without Consulting The Doctor.
Most of the nutritional additions have no side effects, however, some might have a composition that might not work for your body and current illnesses. Additionally, it could be possible that the supplement you take may not provide benefits as per your body, which is a waste of money. Consulting a medical practitioner helps in understanding your exact needs and enhancing your health the right way.
- You Should Not Take Supplements With Your Current Medication.
This one is a bit tricky, as the answer is yes and no. Some supplements might interact with the drugs and cause side effects. However, most of them are absolutely safe to take with your prescription drugs, in fact, they may even enhance the effectiveness of the drug. You have to consult your doctor before you add or subtract any existing supplements and medications.
- The More You Take Supplements, The Better It Is.
The process of these dietary additions is that it works best when it is slow and steady. Your body has a limited capacity to absorb nutrients on a daily basis, when you take a lot of supplements it might flush them out instead of storing them. Take it in your prescribed dosage, not more or less. Unless your doctor advises, you may not need to double your dosage if you miss it.
- You Can Take Them Any Time Of The Day, With Or Without Food.
The body has a mechanism and a clock that it follows, hence nutrients should also be taken as per the body’s system. Learn from an expert the right time to have different supplements. Additionally, some supplements are water and some are fat-soluble. These need to be taken before or after meals, as directed by the nutritionist.
- All Supplement Brands Have The Same Quality.
It may seem like all supplements are more or less the same, in reality, they have vast differences in their effectiveness. Randomized clinical trials and some research suggests that almost 60% of dietary supplements available in our country are fake! Some of them are not even tested and approved by the government authorities. It is essential to pick a good brand and the right ingredients, not only from a cost perspective but even for your safety.
Learn more about myths of supplements, nutrition, diet, and fitness with Dr Hetal Pal – Ph.D. Nutrition and Dietetics.
Setu offers a free Q&A session, wherein our nutritionist (Dr Hetal Pal) will personally chat with you and give advice on queries regarding weight loss, disease management (PCOD, diabetes, etc.), and overall health improvement.
To book your free consultation slot, click here.