Dietary supplements are in vogue these days more than ever. They are presented as a quick fix solution and an instant dose of health for anything from a common cold to weight loss, weight gain, muscle build and what not.
From protein shakes to weight loss pills, supplements are mass consumed and perceived by many as a fast track to achieving your health and fitness goals.
While various dietary supplements can be a great help in restoring one’s natural balance (especially for those unable to consume certain foods, due to allergies or specific medical conditions), every doctor will tell you that entering nutrients into your body from natural food sources is preferable to pills or powders.
Plenty of people steer clear of supplements, fearing the risks of side effects. A lot of the fears stem from the fact that in many countries (US included), dietary supplements are legally treated as food, not as medicine, thus not adhering to the strict production standards and controls imposed on the pharmaceutical industry.
While there are plenty of reputable companies that have been on the market for decades, there is also an abundance of not-as-trustworthy manufacturers advertising their products as miracle potions promising to have you ripped overnight. Here are a few tips on how to safely consume dietary supplements.
Don’t forget to eat
As their very name suggests, dietary supplements are there primarily to supplement the lack of certain nutrients within the organism. They are not, and should never be, a complete replacement for food. Given a choice, always go for natural sources of the needed nutrients, because they contain other needed nutrients as well. Whether you’re focused on a healthy diet or looking to boost your training process, you should eat healthy first and use supplements to compensate for a lack of certain nutrients.
Read the fine print
With the supplement market expanding with every day, you will find yourself faced with a tough choice of selecting a product that will work for you. The best way to be sure the supplement is healthy is to inform yourself on the effects of various substances, and read carefully through the ingredients list. Supplements should contain only natural substances and be devoid of any artificial chemicals.
Ask a professional
If you’re unsure about the effects of various supplements, it might be a good idea to consult a doctor, just to be on the safe side. That is doubly important if you suffer a medical condition, because excessive amounts of certain substances can further complicate and aggravate it. If your health is your primary concern, you wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.
Rely on yourself
If you’re hoping a certain dietary supplement can deliver desired results overnight, you’re in for a disappointment. No matter if you’re looking to lose weight or increase your muscle mass, the sad truth of the matter is that in the end it comes down to your strength of character. No supplement will get the job done if you don’t have discipline, determination and a long term commitment to a diet or a training regimen.
Don’t trust strangers
If you’re just starting to use supplements, you will be faced with the conundrum of choosing a product. You should ask around, do some research and try to identify manufacturers that have been on the market for a longer time and have a proven track record. Don’t go for supposed bargain deals from shady manufacturers or distributors, and make sure you buy from trusted suppliers of sports and health supplements.
Now that we have you covered, you’re free to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy, take care of yourself, and use supplements with caution.