What Are Dietary Supplements & When Should You Take Them?

What Are Dietary Supplements & When Should You Take Them?

Do you feel you are ill more often? Eating enough but not gaining anything? Your body is asking for more! Dietary supplements have revolutionized over the years to compensate for your body's nutritional needs. Markets are flooded with dietary supplements like Focus factor dietary supplements and advanced dietary supplements. Let's understand more about dietary supplements and when you should take them.

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements are external sources of nutrition for the body, consumed to fulfill or compensate for the lack of certain ingredients, vitamins, minerals, etc. These are available in the form of tablets, capsules, juices, powders, pills, and extracts.

They may be consumed as individual ingredients or mixed with foods and drinks.

Know the types of dietary supplements

Dietary supplements can be classified in two ways:

·       According to the intended purpose- supplements are for routine use and special dietary requirements.

·       According to the form in which they are available. Let us study this section in greater detail.

1.     Vitamin and mineral supplements

These are individual supplements to supplement vitamin and mineral needs in a diet. The human body requires vitamins and minerals for effective functioning and disease prevention. For example, Calcium deficiency can cause weak bones in adults. You may consume calcium supplements for bone health. Similarly, selenium can be taken as a mineral supplement.

2.     Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy for the body for bodily functions at rest and during any activity. Carbohydrate supplements are required during intense workouts and illnesses and as a source of energy.

3.     Amino acids

Amino acids are essential building blocks of life. They improve muscle function and sports performance and regulate blood glucose levels.

4.     Multivitamins and Multi-Minerals

Multivitamins and Mult minerals are a combination of different vitamin and mineral supplements along with food ingredients. They are available in various forms, like capsules, tablets, powders, flavored gummies, and liquid drinks.

5.     Meal surrogates

Meal surrogates or replacements are intended for people who cannot eat a regular diet due to illness or disability. These can be powdered substitutes or liquids. 

6.     Oil and fatty acid supplements

Omega-3 is a Polyunsaturated fatty acid that is not synthesized in the human body. They are essential for heart and brain health and prevent inflammation in the body. Fish oil is rich in Omega-3 but may not be consumed by all, especially vegetarians. An Omega-3 supplement fulfills the desired nutrient requirements. Cod liver oil and primrose oil are oil supplements available in the market.

7.     Herbal supplements 

Herbs or botanical supplements are obtained from plants like roots, leaves, flowers, bark, and stem. Examples include Garlic, Green tea extract, Ginseng, Kava kava, Valerian, Echinacea, etc. They are also used as ingredients in traditional medicine. 

8.     Protein supplements

Casein and whey are proteins that are essential for a healthy body. Dairy products are rich in them but may be unsuitable for certain individuals with lactose intolerance. One can find them in protein powders and Soy protein isolate.

9.     Sleep Support Supplement

Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, is a useful dietary supplement. Supports healthy sleep patterns, especially for those with insomnia and jet lag. In addition, Melatonin acts as an antioxidant and fights oxidative stress. Dietary supplements can help restore optimal levels and promote a balanced sleep-wake cycle. Think of melatonin as a natural sleep support option for overall wellness. 

 4 important benefits of dietary supplements

  1. Promoting health and preventing diseases: Dietary supplements are beneficial in individuals with diseases for a healthy and faster recovery. They can also be an important preventive measure for nutritional disorders in people with a dietary nutrient shortfall.
  2. Reducing inflammation in the body: The human body is prone to inflammatory states when there is a lack of nutrition and the presence of disease. Supplements contain essential antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and promote health.
  3. High content of nutrients is provided in small volumes.
  4. Dietary supplements are rich in the required nutrients or ingredients. They do not have extra fat, cholesterol, purines, or other non-essential ingredients that are not required at a given time.

When should you take dietary supplements?

One needs to consume dietary supplements under the following conditions:

  • During pregnancy
  • Lactating or nursing mothers
  • Individuals who are strict vegetarians 
  • Supplements for elderly people with nutritional deficiencies 
  • Those with allergies or food intolerance
  • Long-term illnesses like Cancer, Cardiovascular diseases, Kidney diseases, Metabolic disorders, etc.
  • Infants with malnutrition diseases
  • After a major surgery like a bariatric surgery
  • Dietary supplements are healthy!

Dietary supplements are external sources of nutrition to the body, available in capsule, tablet, powder, juice, and extract form. One may take them as a routine diet requirement or in case of special needs like illness, sports performance, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Consulting a physician or dietician is essential for further guidance on dietary supplements.


1.     What is the side effect of dietary supplements?

Mild to moderate side effects like skin rash, diarrhea, breathlessness, and nausea may occur. These effects can be managed with precautions.

2.     What is a common dietary supplement?

The most common dietary supplements according to recent surveys are Vitamin D, magnesium, and fish oil.

3.     Does a dietary supplement make you lose weight?

Although supplements promote health, there is a general lack of consensus and evidence proving the beneficial effects of dietary supplements on weight loss. 

4.     Is it good to take supplements every day?

It is advisable to take supplements as per requirements and not without proper knowledge about the supplements. Excess dosage may lead to toxicity in the body.

5.     Which supplements should not be taken together?

Mineral supplements compete with one another to get absorbed in the body. Therefore, mineral supplements like calcium, magnesium, or zinc should not be consumed at the same time.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.