The Benefits Of Supplements

Supplements are available as supplements of food, minerals various formulations containing vitamins and minerals along with other nutrients. All supplements, in general are known as dietary supplements or nutritional supplements. They are to be used in addition to the daily diet for achieving different objectives. Supplements should be used very judiciously depending upon the present clinical conditions. There are many proprietary OTC supplements available in the market and indiscriminate use of them can cause harm to the consumer.

Food supplements

Food supplements contain intact or processed proteins from various sources and in addition may contain carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals, depending upon the purpose to be achieved. Food supplements are used in clinical conditions requiring additional dietary proteins, like pregnancy, lactation, growing child, certain deficiency diseases like anemia, tuberculosis, loss of weight etc. Sport persons and wrestlers also use food supplements. Food supplements are to be consumed in addition to the normal diet. Their requirement is expressed in grams.

Proprietary food supplements bear their value base on their content of essential amino acids. Amino acids are the constituents of protein. Essential amino acids are those which our body cannot synthesize and must be obtained from out side. First class source of protein like, milk and dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and sea food are capable of supplying essential amino acids. In order to obtain all the essential amino acid from vegetable source one has consume combination of variety of vegetarian food along with milk and dairy products. If one is not able to plan a diet in this way, then the essential amino acids have to be obtained from supplements. These essential amino acids are Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanise, Theonine and Valine. They are responsible for growth of muscle, tissue repair and production of hormones and enzymes. They help maintain immune system.

Mineral supplements

Minerals required by body in substantial quantities are calcium, phosphorous, iron, sulphur, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chlorine. In addition there are certain minerals required in trace quantities. These are known as trace minerals and they are iodine, copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, seleminum, silicon, flourine and some others. Their requirement is expressed in milligrams or micrograms.

Major mineral supplement available in market is Calcium and formulation containing calcium. These are meant for clinical conditions showing deficiency or higher requirements of calcium. Such conditions are pregnancy, lactation, growing child, diseases caused by deficiency of calcium. Calcium supplements are used as integrative therapy in certain diseases. There are also available supplements formulations containing calcium as major ingredient along with other minerals along with trace minerals. Some may contain therapeutic amounts, while others may contain just the supplementary concentrations of minerals.

Major Minerals required having daily requirement more than 100 mg.


Daily requirement: 800-1000 mg.

Strengthens bones, regulates nerves; muscle and pH of blood, prevent stress, participate in the immune system, prevents osteoarthritis


Daily requirement: 150-450 mg.

Intake of magnesium need to be balanced with that of calcium. It is anti-stress mineral, participates in metabolism of vitamin C, carbohydrates and proteins. Essential for effective nerve and muscle functioning, important for enzymatic actions within the body. Needed for healthy functioning of heart, prevents calcium deposits in kidney and gall bladder.

Important for converting blood sugar into energy.


Daily requirement:s 500 mg.

Essential for normal growth, prevents sunstroke, helps in normal functioning of nerves and muscles, with potassium balances fluid level of body, helps in transporting other minerals to entire body through blood. Excessive sodium increases blood pressure.


Daily requirement: 2-4 gm.

Excessive sodium can precipitate potassium deficiency. With sodium balances fluid level of body, helps in normal functioning of heart, kidneys and skeletal muscles, helps in the functioning of liver, helps the process of nerve conduction, helps relive anxiety, helps reducing blood pressure. Deficiency causes hypoglycemia, confusion, anxiety, deterioration of nervous system, depression, deterioration of memory, noises in ears, acne, dry skin, eczema and skin eruptions, warts, lack of sleep, digestive disorders, gas, constipation, nausea, deterioration in functioning of heart and kidneys, muscular weakness, pains in extremities, fatigue, muscle cramps, numbness, tingling, paralysis, altered rate of pulse.

Major Minerals required having daily requirement less than 100 mg.


Daily requirement: 10 mg.

Carries oxygen in the blood and takes part in the metabolism of energy, improves immunity


Daily requirement: 50-200 mcg.

Improves utilization of insulin, part of certain metaloezymes, reduces cholesterol, participates in metabolism of carbohydrates. Deficiency produces corneal opacities, increases incidence of formation of plaque on the aorta, increases blood pressure, lead to deterioration of growth, baldness, deafness and can create a craving for chocolate. Refined food does not contain chromium.

Daily requirement: Trace

Cobalt is an structural part of the Vitamin B12 molecule and believed to aid secretion of thyroid hormones. Deficiency of Cobalt causes muscular weakness, gastro-intestinal disturbances and nervous tissue degeneration. Overdose can precipitate heart problems, overproduction of red blood cells and interference with the normal functioning of thyroid gland.


Daily requirement: 2-3 mg.

Promotes haemopoesis (generation of RBC), important for enzymatic action, helps in formation of blood cell and tissues, essential for the utilization of Vitamin C.


Daily requirement: 1.4-4 mg.

It helps strengthen the enamel of your teeth.


Daily requirement: 150 mcg.

Helps in the normal functioning of thyroid gland, deficiency causes goiter, cold feet, fatigue, eczema, dry and brittle hair, and retards mental and physical development. It used in the treatment of prostrate cancer, cancer therapy and bone metastases.


Daily requirement: 2-5 mg.

Takes part in enzymatic activities, helps in development of bone structure, functioning of thyroid gland, helps in the functioning of central nervous system, helps better blood sugar control, improves immune system, takes part in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, improves memory, improves metabolism of fatty acids, cholesterol and carbohydrates, helps in normal functions of reproductive system.


Daily requirement: 1.5-2 gm.

It is required along with calcium for development of strong bones and teeth, it takes part in metabolism of energy, deficiency causes deterioration of nervous system, cold hands, cold feet, numbness, sore breasts, night sweats, diarrhea, constipation, faint/rapid pulse, bleeding nose, impaired digestion of fat, deterioration of memory, anxiety, lack of sleep, cramps, neurological pain, shooting pains, colic, low fevers, skin edema, depression, deterioration if functioning of gallbladder.


Daily requirement: 50 ug.

It is an antioxidant, improves immune system, improves functioning of heart, helps eliminate free radicals. Deficiency causes dandruff, deterioration of muscle, calcification of muscle, sterility in males, fetal death/reabsorption, decreased resistance to ozone, crows feet, cardiomyopathy.


Daily requirement: Trace

Reduces cholesterol.


Daily requirement: 15 mg.

More than 40 enzymes dependent on zinc. Great amount of zinc is lost from food because of cooking.

Improves immune system, essential for the function of thymus, constituent of 80 different hormones, maintain blood sugar levels, helpful in repair and growth of tissues, speeds up wound healing, helps maintain mental equilibrium, improves carbohydrate absorption, maintains good eyesight, helps in maintenance of sense smell and taste, improves digestion and the absorption of copper.

Deficiency causes loss of appetite, retardation growth, loss of taste and smell, decreased sexual drive, loss of hair, diarrhea, delayed healing of wound, mental depression, poor resistance to infections.

Vitamin supplements

Several vitamins are available having various physiological functions. Vitamin are classified as fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamins A, D, E and K are all soluble in fat and hence known as fat-soluble. They are not destroyed by ordinary cooking methods and are stored in the body to some extent, mostly in the liver. Their requirement is expressed in international units (I.U.). Vitamin B Complex and C are water soluble. Potency of water soluble vitamins is destroyed by heating. Water soluble vitamins are not stored in body and therefore their supply has to be ensured on daily basis either in foods or as supplement. Excess of water soluble vitamin consumed is eliminated through urine or feces. Their requirement is expressed in milligrams or micrograms.

Therapeutic use of vitamins is of special value in relieving the symptoms of disease and reducing the period of recovery from illness. They are used in two ways such as, for correcting the deficiency and as replacement of certain drugs to treat diseases.

B Complex

Members of Vitamin B Complex are known as coenzymes. They are thiamine, B1; riboflavin, B2; niacin, B3; pantothenic acid, B5; pyridoxine, B6; cobalamine, B12; orotic acid, B13; biotin, choline, folic acid and coenzyme Q10.

They help digestion and metabolism of food. Deficiency causes lower energy levels and brain activities, poor immunity. They are destroyed by heat during cooking, caffeine and alcohol.

B1. Thiamine

Daily requirement: 2 mg for adults and 1.2 mg. for children.

Essential for normal functioning of circulatory and nervous system, growth and digestion of food. Improves mental attitude, helps normal functioning of heart and other muscles. Useful in motion sickness.

B2. Riboflavin

Daily requirement: 1.6 to 2.6 mg for adults and 0.6 to 1.0 mg for children.

Essential for growth and maintenance of body tissues, vision, control of sensitivity of eyes to light, healthy skin, nails and hair. Useful to treat soreness of mouth, lips and tongue.

B3. Niacin

Daily requirement:12 to 20 mg for adults and 4.8 to 12 mg for children.

Essential for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Vital for maintaining a healthy skin, tongue and digestive system. Participate in the activities of the brain and nerves.

B5. Pantothenic Acid

Daily requirement: Daily requirement of this vitamin has not been established, but is estimated as 30 to 50 mg.

Essential for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Vital for maintaining a healthy skin, tongue and digestive system. Participate in the activities of the brain and nerves. It takes part in the synthesis of anti-stress hormones. It improves immunity.

B6. Pyridoxine

Daily requirement: 2.0 mg for adults and 0.2 mg for children.

Essential for haemoposis (formation of RBCs). Improves immunity and eliminates free radicals, relieves stress, prevents formation of kidney stones, required for normal functioning of nervous system, it is often called the anti-depression vitamin, used in the treatment of morning sickness of pregnancy.

B12. Cobalamine

Daily requirement: 3 mcg

Essential for formation of RBC, essential for normal functioning of nervous system, useful to relieve premenstrual stress, it promotes growth. It is destroyed by antibiotics, and can be in lower concentration in the diet of vegetarians. It is used therapeutically in the treatment of anemia, fatigue, alcoholism and stress. It relieves irritability, improves concentration, memory.

This is a relatively unknown vitamin that is thought to be having anti-cancer property.

B9 Folic Acid

Daily requirement: 0.4 mg

Essential for formation of RBCs, vital in the development of the immune system, useful in detoxification of toxic substances like pesticides, drugs (abused drugs) and elimination of free radicals.

Choline. (Dimethyl Glycine)

It is a natural detoxifier and immune-stimulator.

C. Ascorbic Acid

Daily requirement: 50 to 75 mg for adults and 30 to 50 mg for children

Increases interferon activity in the blood, making it difficult for viruses to multiply. Required for the correct functioning of T cells, and other white blood cells. counteracts effects of pollution, required for normal functioning of adrenal glands, eliminates free radicals from the body, it is good antioxidant and detoxifier, aids utilization of calcium, essential for the synthesis of collagen. Smokers, alcohol drinking, stress full conditions, use of oral contraceptives, antibiotics, exposure to carbon dioxide and other pollutions requires vitamin C to counteract the damaging effects.

E. Tocopherol

Daily requirement: 15 I.U.

A natural antioxidant, offers protection against cancer, eliminated free radical from the body, improves immune system. Destroyed in foods on shelves for longer time.

F. Essential fatty acids

These are Omega-3 and Omega-6 which include linoleic acid and gamma-linoleic acid. Our body cannot synthesize essential fatty acids, and hence must be taken from food or supplements. Fatty acids are necessary for normal growth of infants and normal functioning of immune system. They increase the levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol). Skin requires essential fatty acids to maintain its suppleness and a youthful appearance. Fatty acids help in the transmission of nerve impulses and its deficiency may impair learning abilities and memory.

K. Phytonadione,

It helps Regulate normal blood clotting, promotes normal growth and development and is essential for normal functioning of kidneys,

P Flavonoids

Improves utilization of vitamin C by improving absorption and protecting it from oxidation. Sources of this vitamin are found in the edible pulp of fruits, green pepper broccoli, and red grape juice. It helps maintenance of health blood vessels. Prevents accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque., It has anti-inflammatory. It may have property of reducing blood pressure by relaxing smooth muscle of cardiovascular system. It has anticancer property. It seems to prevent hemorrhoids, miscarriages, capillary fragility, bleeding of nose and retina. It reduces levels of cholesterol.

A healthy and well balanced diet normally provides all the required vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats and need not be supplemented by extra pills. If one does not get enough sunlight, then only supplementary vitamin D-3 is needed.