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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Dietary Supplements

dietary supplements

Dietary supplements can be a simple and wonderful way to support your overall health.

However, when it comes to taking dietary supplements, many people have no idea where to begin.

What types of supplements should you be taking? How many of them should you take and how much of each one is wise? Why do people even need supplements, anyway? What factors should you consider when choosing which supplements to take?

If you want to know more about dietary supplements and how to know which ones you should incorporate into your daily routine and health regimen, read on.

This post will teach you everything you need to know to get started with dietary supplements. Once you consider all of the following factors, you’ll have a much better idea of what supplements might be beneficial to you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dietary Supplements

Everybody – and every body – is different, and that’s why there are no one-size-fits-all answers when it comes to choosing dietary supplements. Just because a friend or family member takes a particular supplement doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. All of the following factors should be taken into consideration when choosing what supplements to take for optimum benefits to your health.

1. Age

Depending on how old or how young you are, different supplements will be beneficial to you. Although there are some vitamins and minerals that our bodies need no matter what our age, there are others that can be helpful specifically to young people or older people. 

For example, older adults often can benefit from some supplemental calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6. Even if they continue to eat the same way as they always have, their bodies need more of these nutrients as they age. The best and most effective way to get them is often through the consumption of supplements.

On the other hand, young people may instead benefit from supplements like magnesium to help alleviate growing pains—gelatin, collagen, and probiotics to help with skin and gut health. 

Men and women in their thirties and forties might want to start a regimen of Omega-3 fatty acids for heart and brain health and might choose to begin taking glucosamine sulfate for healthy joints.

The supplements you choose should change as you age. Once you begin taking supplements, reevaluate your needs every few years, and mark this reevaluation on your calendar, so you don’t forget.

2. Gender

Another important factor to consider when choosing dietary supplements is your gender. Men and women are naturally built differently, so as a result, their vitamin and mineral needs are different, too.

Both men and women can benefit from taking a multivitamin, but many multivitamins on the market are divided into formulas made specifically for women and those made for men. 

Beyond that, dietary supplements often get even more specific. For example, many women are low in iron, so doctors often recommend iron supplements to their female patients.

On the other hand, some men choose to take saw palmetto and selenium to support their prostate and urinary tract health. Pygeum and flower pollen extract can aid in support of these areas as well.

3. Your Diet

Before incorporating any dietary supplements into your life, you should take time to evaluate your own diet. You may think that you need a boost in a certain nutritional area, but in reality, that may not be true at all.

In a perfect world, we would get all the nutrients we need from the food we eat, but based on our eating habits, some gaps may exist, and filling those gaps is your goal when taking dietary supplements. If the gap isn’t there, then the supplement isn’t needed.

For example, people who don’t eat much red meat or shellfish can greatly benefit from a zinc supplement, but if you are someone who eats a lot of both, then you probably don’t need it. If you are vegetarian, you will probably want to take zinc along with a variety of B vitamins for optimal health. 

If you’re not sure what additional supplements you may need to balance your diet, consider making an appointment with a dietician. He or she can help you analyze your eating patterns and can suggest more vitamins and minerals that are specific to your needs.

4. Your Body and Your Wants and Needs

Again, every body is different, and each person has different wants and needs. If you exercise a lot, you might turn to MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) to speed up your recovery post-workout, or you might want to take creatine to improve your performance in the gym or on the field or court.

Some people sleep well without any supplemental help. Still, if you suffer from insomnia, you might want to add a glycine supplement, a dose of melatonin, or some 5-HTP before bedtime to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Magnesium taken daily can also help in this realm. 

5. Medical Conditions

If you have already been diagnosed with certain medical conditions, supplements can help slow or even halt the problems you are facing.

For example, if you are experiencing bone loss, your doctor will probably recommend that you take calcium and vitamin D supplements. If there are signs that you may develop heart disease, Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils might help.

People who suffer from macular degeneration can slow the progression of this deteriorative vision condition by taking a combination of vitamins C and E, along with copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin. 

If you have medical conditions you would like to treat with dietary supplements, speak to your doctor about what he or she might suggest. They will know better than you will about what you should take for the best results.

6. Your Family History and Your Future

Many medical conditions run in families, and as a result, you and your doctors may be able to make fairly accurate predictions about what may lie ahead for you in the future when it comes to health.

If you know that family members before you suffered from bone loss or osteoporosis as they aged, you can begin taking vitamin D to help avoid it happening to you as well. If some of your relatives became weak in their later years, a regimen of vitamin E could help keep you strong even as you get older. 

Ten percent of people ages sixty-five and older suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number rises to thirty-two percent for people over the age of sixty-five. Although doctors and researchers are still trying to understand this condition, it seems that there is some connection between its development and the presence of free radicals in your brain.

If someone you love experiences Alzheimer’s disease, you surely want to avoid it yourself at all costs. According to research, it seems that vitamins C and E help to eliminate free radicals from your body. If you start taking these supplements now, you may be happy that you did in the future. 

This can work in the short term, too. If you are planning to get pregnant in the future, or even if you’re not planning on it, but you might become pregnant, you’ll want to incorporate folic acid into your dietary supplement plan. It has been proven to help prevent certain types of congenital disabilities.

Choosing Supplements

When it comes to choosing the specific brands and types of supplements to take, be sure to take your time choosing as well. Some brands are safer and more effective than others. The dietary supplement industry is growing larger and larger; its valuation was estimated at $123.28 billion last year in 2019.

As a result, more and more businesses are rushing to break into the industry, and not all of them are delivering high-quality products.

Check the product label for seals of approval from ConsumerLab.com, NSF Internationals, and US Pharmacopeia to be sure that each product has been tested independently for safety and quality before buying anything.

If you don’t, you’ll be throwing your money down the drain, and you may even cause more harm than good to your health. You can also read online customer reviews to help you find a reputable supplement for your needs.

Happy Supplementing

Consideration of all of the above factors will help you to get started on the right dietary supplement regimen for you, your body, and your needs.

Remember, when you do start to take dietary supplements, you won’t see the benefits right away, and in some cases, they might not even be outwardly obvious at all.

However, you can rest easy knowing that these supplements are working hard inside of you to help your body be the best it can be and that they are a great addition to your daily routine. Supplements will support your overall health, and you will be better for it in the long run.

If you want to learn more about dietary supplements and health in general, please check out our blog for more informative and educational posts. After that, if you still have questions, feel free to contact us. We would love to help, and we can’t wait to hear from you soon. 

Dieting, Supplements

These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

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