Dietary supplements are a hot topic right now. With so much new information in the world of nutrition, and men becoming more aware of the importance of having a healthy and well-balanced energy intake on a regular basis (especially to those involved in the sports, fitness, and health industries) It is not surprising that so many are turning toward dietary supplements.
They do it either as a way to complement their regular diet or in search for that extra oomph they need to take their demanding, athletic lifestyles to the next level.
However, there seems to be a lot of contradictory information – from both reputable, and uncredited sites – regarding the validity, usefulness, and all-around effectiveness of dietary supplements for men, and their utility as a reliable source for those elements that are part of an outstanding nutritional practice. To the point that I’ve received an increased volume of emails and pokes on my social networks all around, asking a deceivingly simple-looking question:
Are they safe?
So, I thought I should take a stab at answering this in the most simple, straightforward manner, to give a little guidance to anyone looking into the subject.
Let me begin by giving you the disappointing answer right away: yes and no.
As with many subjects regarding a person’s health and dietary tendencies, there’s no real “one-size-fits-all” type of answer. And in the issue of dietary supplements it is doubly so since you don’t only have to take the particular person’s need on a case by case basis, but maybe more importantly, you need to judge each product on an individual basis also.
Statistics tell us that the majority of adults in the United States take some dietary supplement at least occasionally. They come in a variety of forms (tablets, powders, capsules) and cover a wide array of desirable things, like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, etc. So, the demand is evidently there. Here are the reasons why is the supply under such potent scrutiny.
Many scientific studies have proven some dietary supplements are quite beneficial to the person’s overall health and can even assist in the recovery from certain conditions. Calcium and Vitamin D helping keep bones healthy and helping with bone loss, or Omega-3 helping some people with heart disease.
However, many other supplements lack these studies to prove they work, which is largely because the United States Food and Drug Administration does not require a supplement to demonstrate their effectiveness before being marketed.
Regulation and administration
While most dietary supplements carry a “Supplement Facts” panel listing its content, the number of active ingredients per serving, and any other added ingredient, the optimal way for their consumption is mostly left to interpretation.
The manufacturer often recommends a serving size, but you or your health care provider may deem that a different dosage could be more appropriate in your particular case.
Safety and Risk
Many of the active ingredients in dietary supplements can have substantial effects on a person’s body, and the possibility of unwanted side effects is always there.
However, most supplements are likely to cause side effects when they are being taken as a substitute for prescription medicines or people start combining different types of supplements at once. Some active ingredients can increase the risk of bleeding (and are not recommended to be ingested if you are to receive surgery) while others can even interact with prescriptions and cause problems.
What can you do about it?
When discussing the effectiveness and safety of men’s dietary supplements, the best thing you can do is use your own judgment and do the proper research on an individual, case-by-case basis.
Find and read unbiased reviews on the supplements you want to try before purchasing them! Run their active ingredients with a physician and make sure those do not conflict with prescriptions or other supplements you might already be taking, and most important of all, respect your dosages and suspend the intake the moment you notice something is not right.
Being responsible and reasonable about your supplement habits is the only way to guarantee your safety and your wellbeing.