Did you know that in 2021, the global supplement market made a whopping $59.91 billion in annual sales? That’s a staggering $16.49 billion higher than 2016 sales! Vitamin supplements, in turn, accounted for almost a third of the 2021 sales.
One of the factors driving the supplement market’s growth is increasing health awareness. For example, more consumers now know their dietary habits can make or break their health. So, in the hopes of staying fit and healthy, they take nutritional supplements.
So, does that mean it’s also time for you to look up “nutritional supplement stores near me” online? What are supplements, anyway, and what benefits can they bring to the table?
Below, we’ll discuss the most crucial facts you need to know about supplement intake, so read on.
What Are Nutritional Supplements?
Also called dietary supplements, nutritional supplements are products used to improve the diet. They often contain one or more nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or herbs.
Nutritional supplements are oral products, meaning you take them by mouth. They come in several forms, including tablets, pills, and powders.
How Can Supplements Benefit Me?
Dietary supplements call “fill” gaps in your daily intake of essential nutrients. Some can even aid in addressing specific nutritional deficiencies. Others may help address insufficiencies that certain medical conditions may trigger.
Help Nourish You With Essential Vitamins
The body needs 13 essential vitamins to work correctly. These are vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Note that eight B vitamins comprise the vitamin B complex.
Vitamins are crucial to the body’s daily functions, including cell growth and reproduction. They also aid in efficient energy storage, processing, and use. Some also have critical roles in helping the body absorb and use other nutrients.
The 13 vitamins above are “essential” as the body can’t make them. Thus, they must come from the diet, or in the case of vitamin D, from sunlight and fortified food.
The problem is that about 9 in 10 Americans have a poor diet. For one, only about 10% eat enough vegetables. Two, just 12% have adequate fruit intake.
The good news is that some of the best supplements have all 13 essential vitamins. Don’t worry, though, as each nutrient they contain is only present in a tiny amount. That helps prevent overdosage, making them generally safe for consumption.
Thus, if your typical diet is lacking, talk to your doctor about taking multivitamins. However, eating healthier foods like fruits and veggies would still be best.
Help Boost Your Mineral Intake
The body needs over a dozen essential minerals for proper functioning. They can either be macrominerals (major minerals) or microminerals (trace minerals).
Macrominerals are “major” since the body uses and stores them in large quantities. These include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium, to name a few.
Trace minerals are just as crucial to health, but you need them in lower amounts. Examples include iron, zinc, copper, fluoride, iodine, and selenium.
Essential minerals play vital roles in organ function and health. The bones, muscles, brain, and heart wouldn’t work correctly without them. Likewise, the body wouldn’t be able to make enzymes and hormones if not for them.
Like vitamins, essential minerals also come from food, including fruits and veggies. You can also find them in beans, whole grains, unsaturated fats, dairy, and lean protein.
So if you rarely eat these healthy treats, your body may need more minerals. Talk to your doctor about taking multimineral supplements.
Some supplements also contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Consider taking these if you’re low on both types of nutrients.
Help Lower the Risk of Undernourishment
Over time, a poor diet or lifestyle can lead to nutrient deficiency. A perfect example is the 41% of U.S. adults who are low in vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent because few foods contain this nutrient. Aside from fatty fish, only some fortified products, like dairy and cereals, have it. Many people also don’t get enough exposure to sunlight, the chief source of vitamin D.
Another example of a widespread nutritional problem is magnesium deficiency. Experts estimate over half of people in the U.S. don’t get enough of this mineral. Likewise, 44% of Americans fail to meet the recommended calcium intake.
So, why not choose supplements with vitamins and minerals to help boost your daily diet? By taking them with your doctor’s advice, you could cut your risk of undernourishment.
Address Specific Nutritional Deficiencies
Each vitamin and mineral is available as a stand-alone supplement. Thus, they’re often the first choice of people with a specific deficiency.
Diagnosing a nutritional deficiency usually involves undergoing laboratory tests. Finger-prick and venous blood tests are some of the most common testing methods.
Nutritional deficiency tests reveal details about one’s micronutrient blood levels. Doctors use them to determine if a person has too little (or too much) of a nutrient in their system.
If a patient is deficient, doctors may recommend dietary changes and supplementation. As long as taken as directed, supplements may help boost the body’s supply of the nutrient it lacks.
May Help Counter Nutritional Deficiency Symptoms
Calcium deficiency can weaken the fingernails. It can also cause numbness in the fingers, muscle cramps, and even mottled teeth. In the long run, it can cause the bones to become weak and brittle.
A magnesium deficiency can lead to appetite loss, nausea, and vomiting. It can also cause fatigue, weakness, a pins and needles sensation, and muscle spasms. Some people may also develop hyperexcitability or sleepiness.
Many other deficiencies can cause similar symptoms, for instance, an iron deficiency. In this case, you may develop fatigue or breathing problems. You may also experience muscle weakness, chest pain, or at the very least, a pale skin color.
Another is a vitamin B12 deficiency, with signs similar to an iron deficiency. However, it may also cause mood changes.
If you experience any of those symptoms, it may be time to visit your doctor for a nutrition deficiency test. They may then tell you to buy supplements if you test positive for deficiencies. Follow your doc’s advice to a T; otherwise, you may be at risk of more severe health woes.
Help Reduce the Risks of Health Conditions
Studies have linked nutritional deficiencies to emotional disorders. For instance, researchers associate vitamin D deficiency with depression and anxiety. So, they believe low vitamin D can raise depression and anxiety risks.
Another problem a lack of vitamin D can cause or contribute to is brain fog. It may occur as a result of mood disorders like depression. Likewise, it can be due to a thyroid problem, which low vitamin D can also cause.
Links between calcium deficiency and bone disorders also exist. For example, being low in calcium can raise the risk of osteoporosis. This bone disease, in turn, already affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in the U.S.
There’s also iron deficiency, which may raise your risk of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). IDA is the top cause of anemia in the U.S. and worldwide. Severe cases can lead to problems affecting the heart, lungs, and organs.
Those are just a few examples of what nutritional deficiencies can do to your body. That’s why you should consider taking supplements if you lack certain nutrients.
For example, brain balance supplements may help if you have vitamin D deficiency. Likewise, taking calcium supplements may help lower your odds of getting osteoporosis. Or, if you lack iron, iron supplements may help cut your risk of getting IDA.
Help Prevent the Need for IV Infusions
Severe vitamin A, C, or D deficiencies may hinder your immune system’s functions. That can make you more prone to infectious diseases, some of which can be very dangerous.
For example, severe vitamin A deficiency can make you more likely to get lung diseases. This deficiency can, in particular, raise children’s risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections.
Due to their heightened risks, people with severe deficiencies may need intravenous treatment. Also known as IV vitamin therapy, it directly supplies nutrients to the bloodstream. It involves inserting an IV drip with vitamins and minerals into a patient’s nerve.
All vitamins and minerals are available as IV infusions. They’re expensive, though, costing over $100 per session.
By contrast, nutritional supplements cost only a few cents per serving. So, if you take supplements correctly, you may not have to rely on IV infusions in the future.
Help With Healthy and Graceful Aging
As people age, they experience reductions in their appetite and activity levels. As a result, they tend to eat fewer calories. That decrease then makes them more prone to nutritional deficiencies.
Unfortunately, poor nutrition in older adults can result in chronic diseases. These include atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and diabetes, to name a few.
Insufficient nutrition can also lead to a general decline in one’s quality of life. After all, it can impair a person’s physical function and cognitive skills.
That’s also why taking supplements may be even more vital for aging adults. Doing so can help them avoid deficiencies caused by their decreased caloric intake.
How Do I Choose Nutritional Supplement Stores Near Me?
Remember: Over 29,000 different dietary supplements are available to U.S. consumers. Stores, from supermarkets to online sellers, make them even more accessible.
Unfortunately, some nutritional supplement stores carry potentially harmful products. You can steer clear of these businesses by following our tips below.
Check the Descriptions of Their Products
The Food and Drug Administration regulates dietary supplement products and their ingredients. However, it does so under regulations different from traditional foods and conventional drugs.
For example, supplement makers and distributors must abide by the DSHEA. DSHEA stands for the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.
DSHEA prohibits companies from marketing adulterated supplements. It also makes it illegal to misbrand products.
Adulterated products contain components that may pose a health risk. You can check the FDA’s list of ingredients considered unlawful in supplements.
Misbranding is when a product’s labeling or advertising is misleading or false. An example is if its label claims it can treat medical conditions. Another is if it says it can cure diseases or ailments.
To ensure compliance, distributors must evaluate the labels of the products they distribute. Doing so helps them confirm the products abide by the FDA and DSHEA laws.
So, when choosing a supplement store, review their products first. Next, check if any contain illegal ingredients as per the FDA. If there is, it implies they’re not complying with the FDA’s regulations.
In that case, it would be best not to buy supplements from that store.
Choose Stores That Carry Certified Products
The law doesn’t require third-party testing for supplements. However, reputable manufacturers voluntarily choose to get tested and certified. They do so to prove their commitment to making high-quality and safe products.
One example of certification is a Certificate of Analysis (COA). It comes from independent third-party companies like the NSF, BSCG, or ConsumerLab.
Products with a COA have undergone testing confirming they:
- Contain the exact ingredients stated on their labels
- Contain the amounts of ingredients listed on their labels
- Are free of harmful or high levels of contaminants
- Are free of undeclared ingredients
If you’re an athlete, look for products tagged as “NSF certified for Sports.” This certification tests for 280+ substances banned by most major sports organizations. It then only certifies supplements without any of those ingredients.
Talk to Your Doctor About Supplementation
Now you know that supplements can deliver essential nutrients your body lacks. In doing so, they may help cut the risk of nutritional deficiencies and promote better health.
So, why not talk to your doctor about getting a nutrition deficiency test? That way, they can confirm if you need supplementation. If you do, you can follow our tips when looking up “nutritional supplement stores near me” online.
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