Does your body need supplements?

Should you take dietary supplements? This is the question many people grapple with every day. Robert Mukwaya, a nutritionist with Bomgi Uganda, says dietary supplements are crucial in enhancing the food nutrients in the body. The supplements come in various forms including tablets, capsules, powders, syrups and energy booster drinks.

They may contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and immune boosters or herbal extracts.

“Dietary supplements compensate for the nutrition values that may be deficient in our bodies. They are also crucial for the proper balancing of the body organs,” says Dr Michael Wolwa, a public health specialist in Kampala.

Justus Muhangi, a nutritionist at Dynapharm Africa, says he has been using diet supplements for the past 12 years. “Some people assume that using supplements is a luxury, but many people actually do not eat the right food nutrients that they are supposed to. So the deficit can be found in supplements,” Muhangi says.

Different supplements
He adds that there are various types of supplements that play different roles in the body, including helping to convert blood sugar into energy, relieve swellings and painful joints, depression and mood stability. Supplements can also be used to cleanse the body and improve blood circulation.

According to Dr Wolwa, people over the age of 30, especially women, usually lose calcium faster, which makes their bones to become weak.

In this case, calcium boosters can be got through dietary supplements to strengthen the bones.
Women who experience heavy periods are also likely to become anaemic, which means they will need more iron and green leafy vegetables to boost blood production.

People who engage in aerobics and gymnastics also need a lot of proteins to boost their energy levels, all of which can be got through supplements.

Among children who suffer from diarrhoea, zinc supplements can help to boost their energy levels.

However, before a person takes any supplements, they need to ensure it is safe for consumption. “There are many supplements on market, so people should lookout for what is right or wrong,” says Dr Wolwa.

Key facts
Dietary supplements play an important role in our health. For example, calcium and vitamin D are crucial in keeping bones strong. Pregnant women can take the vitamin folic acid to prevent certain birth defects in their babies.
Conditions such as poor sight can also be corrected by taking Vitamin A supplements, while Vitamin C supplements can be got by consuming fruits such as oranges.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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