• Vitamins: It tends to be an important nutrient required by the organism in limited amounts. A vitamin is an organic chemical compound when the organism is not able to synthesize in adequate quantities. Hence, it is from the diet that vitamin is to be obtained. This term is conditional on particular organism and circumstances. Vitamin C (Ascrobic acid) is not for most animals, but essential for humans. For treating specific health issues, supplementation is necessary, however, healthy people have shown very less benefits.
• Dietary element: Chemical elements are required by living organisms and are commonly known as ‘minerals’ or ‘dietary minerals’. These tend to form other than four elements present in organic molecules like oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon. Since the substance referred is not actual minerals, but chemical elements, they are archaic.
• Herbal medicine: Here, plants are used for medicinal purposes and has been used since history. As a matter of fact, traditional medicine still is a popular practice. Herbalism forms alternative medicine and is recognized by modern medicine. It scope is often extended towards including shells, minerals, bee and fungal products, and specific parts of animals.
• Proteins and amino acids: These are organic compounds that are biologically essential and comprises of -COOH (carboxylic acid) and amine (-NH2) functional groups. Nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon are its key elements, even though other elements are present in specific amino acids’ side chains. It is into three categories that amino acids could be divided like conditional amino acids, non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids. The human body is not able to prepare the last one and hence is to be provided by food. Through normal protein breakdown or from those essential amino acids, it becomes possible to create non-essential amino acids. Except for someone who is challenged with medical condition for a lifetime or for stress or illness, conditional amino acids are not an essential.
• Essential fatty acids: It is a must for animals and humans to ingest fatty acids or EFAs since the body needs them to be in good health, otherwise, it does not become possible to synthesize them. Here, fatty acids are required for biological procedures, however, does not include fats, which acts as fuel.
• Bodybuilding supplements: These are commonly used dietary supplements especially by those who are into athletics and bodybuilding. Such supplements would be required for enhancing weight gain, replacing meals, improving athletic performance and to promote weight loss. Protein drinks, vitamin supplements, BCAA (branched-chain amino acids), creatine, glutamine, meal replacement products, weight loss products, testosterone boosters and essential fatty acids, are some of the commonly used ones. Supplements are sold as ‘stacks’ or single ingredient preparation, which offers synergistic advantages. There are several bodybuilding supplements, which are consumed by general public, however, their frequency and salience might differ when utilized by bodybuilders.
There have been some claims made by food safety professor of the University of Helsinki who states that dietary supplements amounting to over 90% are incorrect when it comes to their health claims.
In the last decade, it has been noticed that liver damage incidents has tripled, which rises from dietary supplements, with most of them being bodybuilding supplements. Some patients may need liver transplants, while few die. Among third of them used, contains unlisted steroids.
Dietary supplements are used to provide sufficient nutrients to people who lack it or not able to derive it from food. However, they are not to be used for preventive healthcare or treating diseases. Vitamins when used appropriately are termed to be an exception. With balanced diet, supplements are better avoided.
In various ways, dietary supplements could create harm in the person, which includes build-up in body due to over-consumption, specifically of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Rapid absorption within short time period might cause harm and quality issues like contamination or even adverse interactions with medications and other foods.
FDA in the U.S. has various monitoring procedures on substances depending upon its being presented as food additives, drugs, dietary supplements or food. In the U.S., dietary supplements are regulated by law as food type instead of a drug and consumed by mouth. There is no need for government approval for manufacturing or selling dietary supplements similar to food. Its safety is thoroughly checked by the manufacturer, while the risk-benefit analysis gets used for petitioning that dietary supplement or food is completely unsafe and is to be removed from market.
FDA states dietary supplements to be products that are not food additives such as spices, pharmaceutical drugs, conventional food or preservatives and meet any of the following given below:
• The product being labeled as dietary supplement
• Product containing dietary element, vitamin, using herbs of herbalism or botanically as amino acid, medicinal plant or any substance contributing to food consumed or an extract, ingredient, metabolite, concentrate or combination of such things.
• It is used for supplementing diet of a person, despite of not be usable like that of meal replacement.
When nutrients are not being consumed in adequate quantities, then it can be supplemented by dietary supplements. These generally include amino acids, fatty acids, fiber, minerals and vitamins. They are termed to be foods by the US authorities, while elsewhere it goes with the name of drugs, etc.
Presently, over 50,000 dietary supplements are available worldwide. These are consumed by more than 53% to 55% of the adult population in the U.S., with multivitamins being the common ones.
According to National Health Institute of the U.S., such products should not be taken for treating or preventing disease and can prove to be dangerous in some circumstances. Certain supplements could have value for people, failing to have balanced diet.
Micronutrients are best consumed by people showing clear deficiency and most supplements need to be avoided. People in Nordic countries are recommended Vitamin D because of weak sunlight. Consulting a physician is advised.