The tendency to believe we can substitute the best dietary supplements for food is totally
erroneous. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Federal nutrition policy, and education’s
cornerstone makes it abundantly clear that a person’s nutritional needs must be met through diet.
The guidelines also clarify that some people do require-supplements to acquire missing
nutrients. Gaining awareness of what diet enhancers can and cannot do is an important step
toward enjoying good health.
Most people are into the habit of taking dietary supplements to stay healthy and promote general
wellbeing. With the over-abundance of products available on the market, for the consumer, it is a
daunting task, to say the least deciding which diet enhancers genuinely provide health benefits.
The best method is to gather information about the products, safety considerations and overall
health benefits prior to shopping for these products.
Dietary Supplements as defined by law in the U.S.:
• Labeled as a dietary supplement
• Complements diet
• Contains dietary ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, other substances or
• Taken orally in tablet, softgel, powder, capsule, gelcap or liquid form
Extensive research in the field of dietary enhancers has shown that certain supplements are
effective in treating and possibly preventing diseases. Calcium and vitamin D are found to prevent
and treat osteoporosis and bone erosion. Folic acid, which is a vitamin found in the body, helps in
preventing specific birth defects. Zinc helps to slow age-related eye disease. Fish oil has proven
effective in reducing pain and inflammation while promoting healthy joints.
The rule of thumb states that people who regularly consume a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables,
legumes, low-fat dairy items, fish and lean meats are generally healthy. Recommended
supplements-I(fortified foods) may be prescribed for:
• People who consume below 1,600 calories per day and generally poor eaters
• Vegetarians and vegans who consume limited variety in their diet
• Patients who undergo surgery on the digestive tract that prevents normal digestion and the
absorption of nutrients
• Patients with a medical condition such as chronic diarrhea, food intolerance, liver disease, food
allergies, gallbladder, pancreas or intestinal disease
• Women who experience exceptionally heavy bleeding during mensuration
• Pregnant women need pre-natal vitamin-supplement
• Women who may become pregnant require additional folic acid from fortified-supplements
• Adults above the age of 50 years
Digestive Enzymes Information on Health Benefits
Digestive enzymes are found in the digestive tract where they perform the function of aiding
food digestion and cellular survival. These enzymes are diverse in nature and can be found in the
saliva from salivary glands, pancreatic juices, intestinal secretions, stomach lining and the
gastrointestinal tract lining.
Digestive enzymes are grouped as follows:
• Amino acids, proteases, peptidases
• Lipases that split fat into fatty acids and glycerol molecules
• Carbohydrases that split carbohydrates (starch and sugars) into glucose, etc.
When considering digestive enzyme-supplements remember the measurement is based on
potency and activity of the enzyme. The Food Chemical Codex provides the only accepted
national standard evaluation of enzymes.
Quite often, without the aid of digestive enzyme-supplements, food does not digest properly,
especially cooked food. The enzymes in the food are killed through the cooking process, giving
rise to digestive disorders such as acid reflux, gas, indigestion and more. This, in turn, is often
found to be the underlying cause of other health problems.
Busy lifestyles, stress and the tempting presence of convenient fast food makes it difficult for
people in the modern age to stay focused on daily nutritional requirements. The food pyramid
teaches us about the different food groups and the required daily intake from each group. How
many people remember the pyramid and what needs to be consumed? Diet enhancers do not
replace proper nutrition from food; they work by complementing dietary intake to ensure the
body gets the right nutrients needed to stay healthy.
Herbal-supplements and fish oils are types of dietary supplements. Each type of supplement
has its own benefits, but in general, most diet enhancers provide the following benefits:
• The number one benefit is in overcoming a range of nutritional deficiencies. The body requires
nutrients in the right amounts to maintain optimal health. Nutritional additions to diet help to fill in
the gaps when nutrients are missing.
• Nutritional enhancers work to boost the immune system making it stronger and more disease
resistant. For example, popping a few vitamin C tablets can help prevent the onset of a cold,
and it does not harm the body in any way.
• We take in toxins on a regular basis that need to be cleaned out of the system. Harmful toxins
lead to various health problems and anti-oxidant supplements help to rid the body of toxic waste.
Fish oil has emerged as one of the best dietary supplement of the age, providing a number
of health benefits including the promotion of cardiovascular health and protection against heart
problems and strokes.