August 23rd, 2022
Supplements are simply edible substances that are designed to enhance body performance or address a deficiency. Supplements are taken alongside meals to provide quality nutrients in sufficient quantities most of which are extracted from food sources or made synthetically.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) defines supplements as “a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients: a vitamin, a mineral, an herb or other botanical, an amino acid, a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake, or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any of the aforementioned ingredients.
Currently, there are over 50,000 supplement products that are designed to provide various nutrients to the human body and enhance specific functions. However, The Council For Responsible Nutrition places all supplementary products into four categories.
1. Vitamins and minerals
Examples of such supplements are Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Vitamin B/B complex.
2. Specialty Supplements
These supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids are taken to treat blood pressure and arthritis.
3. Sports Nutrition and Weight Management
Usually taken to boost performance during exercise and sporting exercises or to manage weight loss/gain, examples are Garcinia Cambogia, green coffee, energy drinks, and hydration gels.
4. Herbals and Botanicals
The consumption of such helps with diabetes, high sugar levels, and blood pressure. Examples range from cranberry, ginseng, and green tea.
In recent times, the concept of using supplements to address certain physical and mental challenges has grown popular. However, the speculations of supplements being able to ease mental health struggles like depression and anxiety have not gained the full support of a lot of scientists, researchers, and medical health experts.
Although supplements such as Kava, Valerian roots, St John’s Worts, and Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to be effective against depression and anxiety, most experts are still skeptical about recommending them to patients. Their concerns usually spun around the reasons for settling for supplements when patients can be subjected to proper therapy, examination, and treatments.
Also, there lies the concerns of patients being exposed to side effects from the use of such supplements. For example, St John’s Wort is one of the most researched plants used as a supplement and treatment for depression yet not all studies make suggestions of possible benefits.
Also, a 2016 review of 35 different studies which included a total of 7000 people provided evidence that a placebo paled in comparison to the performance of St. John’s Wort in assisting people who struggled with mild or moderate depression. According to Dr. Sanacora, “there’s been a fair amount of work done on St John’s Wort over the years. But it’s still not the high-quality evidence that you would see for a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug.”
There is no doubt that the use of supplements can be very helpful in dealing with depression. However, most experts recommend that people visit primary care clinics or health centers for therapy and proper medical examination rather than the use of supplements, especially in severe cases.
If you need proper information or would like to speak with a medical expert to find out more, we are readily available here.