Dietary supplements are products taken by mouth just like any other drug. These supplements are intended to provide nutrients when they are not consumed in sufficient quantities. Dietary supplements generally include vitamins, minerals, fibre and amino acids. Only in US, dietary supplements are classified as food elsewhere they are classified as drugs and other products.
Popular types of dietary supplements are vitamins and mineral or amino acids supplements. Vitamins and minerals serve the body in a unique way. Vitamins help the body to protect and heal itself and also support the vision. Minerals aids in body metabolism, water balance, and bone health.
Dietary supplements classification:
Each dietary supplements are classified according to its benefits and potential risks. Supplements are ranked on scale of minimal, low, moderate and high. Supplements classification ranges from Class 1-12.
- Class 1: Class 1 supplements are likely to provide high performance with less or no side effects.
- Class 2: Class 2 supplements are likely to provide same performance benefits as class 1 but their risks are higher than class 1.
- Class 3: Class 3 supplements provide moderate potential benefits with moderate side effects.
- Class 4: Class 4 supplements provide moderate potential benefits with adverse side effects.
- Class 5: Class 5 supplements have minimal associated risks but potential benefits are low.
- Class 6: Class 6 supplements have low potential benefits so are their risks.
- Class 7: Class 7 supplements provide high potential benefits like class 1 and 2 but they are accompanied by undesirable side effects.
- Class 8: Class 8 supplements are likelihood of adverse side effects and accompanied by moderate potential benefits.
- Class 9: Class 9 supplements provide high potential benefits and they also have high potential of undesirable side effects.
- Class 10: Class 10 supplements present adverse side effects but only moderate potential results.
- Class 11: Class 11 supplements provide moderate safety like class 7 and 8 but unlikely to provide any benefits.
- Class 12: Class 12 supplements provide low potential benefits and high risk of adverse side effects.
Herbal supplements are different from vitamin and mineral supplements but they have medicinal values. Ancient civilizations relied on these herbal supplements to treat various diseases. Doctors don’t suggest herbal supplements to patients who are under medications because some supplements and prescription drugs combine to produce adverse side effects.
Vitamins are vital nutrients required by an organism in limited amounts. Vitamins cannot be synthesized by organism and can only be obtained from diet. If a human lacks in nutrient, syndromes like Night blindness, beriberi, weight loss, low WBC count show up. Popular vitamins supplements are Arginine, Lysine etc.
Amino acids supplements:
Amino acids are organic compounds of amine and carboxylic group; the key elements of amino acid are carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.
Amino acids consist of three types:
- Essential amino acids.
- Non- Essential amino acid.
- Conditional amino acids.
Essential amino acids supplements:
Essential amino acids are not synthesized by body and can be obtained only through food. Food rich in essential amino acids are apples, sprouted grains, beans, peas. Popular amino acids supplements are Leucine, L-methionine and L-Theanine.
Non-Essential amino acids:
Non-Essential amino acids are generally synthesized from Essential amino acids by normal protein breakdown process.
Conditional amino acids supplements:
Conditional amino acids are not essential except at times of illness or stress. Popular Conditional amino acids supplements are cystine, glutamine, proline, taurine.
These kinds of supplements are generally used in bodybuilding and athletics. However these supplements are not used to satisfy the nutrient deficiency but rather taken to improve athletic performance or accelerate the loss or gain of body weight; generally these supplements contain testosterone boosters and steroids. These supplements are also consumed by general public.
Adverse side effects:
Dietary supplements consumers are prone to side effects like liver and kidney failures which are frequent among bodybuilders because they use supplements without doctor’s advice and don’t drink enough water which forces them to undergo transplants.
Omega- 3 supplements:
Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils are considered very healthy and have the ability to reduce cholesterol but researchers have found that omega-3 supplements didn’t show any signs of reducing cholesterol rather increasing bad LDL cholesterol.
Most doctors do not recommend consuming dietary supplements unless for people having deficiency but in today’s common world, dietary supplements are marketed as food supplements. One can avoid relying on dietary supplements by consuming balanced diet.