The continuing quest for the world’s most accurate and most comprehensively sensible answer to healthy living have brought men and women to the conclusion that dietary supplements might as well prove the key to what they are looking for.


Naturopaths are staunch supporters of dietary supplementation. While some members of the medical community are already attesting to the importance of dietary supplementation, it still requires more solid evidence, more clinically-proven tests, to really cement its published benefits on human health and well-being.


The passivity, if not downright apathy, of some members of the medical community regarding food supplements is perhaps borne out of the wholly commercialized marketing of online food supplements with little to no indication of well-publicized, clinically-controlled, and highly randomized studies that should show undeniable truth to the effectiveness of nutritional supplementation.


While the scientific community continue to debate on the merits of food supplementation, with the medical rationalists on one side and the naturopaths and nutritionists on the other, it is often best to become fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of food supplementation.


The Benefits of Food Supplements


As the word itself, food supplements cannot take the place of high quality, well-balanced food. However, in today’s highly-charged and often very stressful work environments and emotionally packed lifestyles, who has the luxury of eating three square meals a day? Well, perhaps there are still those, including two snacks in between.


However, looking at the quality of the food consumed today, majority are processed and fast. A breakfast will usually be composed of coffee and doughnuts. For lunch, it will be a roll and a piece of chicken breast deep fried in pork fat then dipped or slathered with fatty gravy. Dinner will almost be the same.


Eating habits like this clearly makes one substantially deficient in some of the essential nutrients needed by the body. That is why food supplementation will be necessary. Furthermore, people with certain disease conditions like lactose intolerance can add a few food supplements in their diet. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can greatly benefit from food supplementation.


People who are strict vegetarians, while generally healthy, might not be able to get the much needed certain types of proteins and fats that can be derived from animal sources. Sometimes, the things people do to stay healthy can create other problems for them. Skipping milk altogether can significantly predispose your to bone density problems. While calcium can be obtained from several vegetable sources, you will have to consume a whole bunch of these veggies just to supply your daily requirement for calcium.


Special groups of people can also benefit from food supplementation. Growing children, pregnant women, the sick and debilitated, and elderly persons can all benefit from food supplementation because of the varying requirements for development. Absorption problems among the elderly will require supplementation. The immature digestive systems of babies will also benefit from food supplementation. The increased metabolic requirements of the pregnant and the sick will also require food supplementation.


Food supplements are just that, as supplements. They are not designed to take the place of adequate nutritious food. And under no circumstances are they to take the place of drugs in the treatment of certain diseases.


The Disadvantages of Food Supplementation 


The one thing not really going for food supplementation is its lack of truly credible and very testable experimental studies – ones that will prove beyond reasonable doubt of the effectiveness of food supplements. While there have been studies about its effects, the results have been taken to be merely a product of chance. This is particularly true in the wide disparity of study results.


Leaving the scientific debate to the experts, ordinary household consumers must be made aware of the disadvantages or drawbacks of food supplements.


Overdose or toxicity has been reported in not one or two cases but many cases. Hypervitaminosis or even excessive serum concentrations of minerals in the body can lead to a host of problems that may require medical attention. Furthermore, some food supplements can adversely affect the potency or mechanism of action of certain drugs. And this is why the medical community is quite adamant when it comes to the efficacy of food supplements in patient care management.


The key thing to understand is that food supplements should not take the place of regular high quality, nutritious, and well-balanced diet. The best way to determine the right amount and frequency of supplement intake is to consult with a specialist. In that way, you are assured of maximizing its benefits.