Are Health Supplements a Waste of Your Money or a Must-Have?

15 min read

What’s the deal with health supplements? For some of us, daily multivitamins have become non-negotiable and for others the thought of taking a supplement is the stuff of chemophobia. Regardless of your feelings towards supplements, one thing is for certain: Supplements in the United States, New Zealand, Australia or most of the world are big business. Could it be a fad - or just another way to separate you from your hard-earned cash? Let’s take a closer look at the debate surrounding health supplements – but instead of trying to sell you anything, we’re going to attempt to answer the question of whether or not you need them in your life.

People are always looking to improve their health and wellness, regardless of income or socioeconomic status. From buying a blender to adding kale to smoothies and juices, supplementing your diet has become a common focus.

But what exactly are health supplements anyway?

Defining Health Supplements

nutrition | 2nutri
Health supplements are, by definition, any substance intended to supplement the diet. A health supplement can therefore be a vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid or other botanicals, amino acids or their derivatives. Health supplements may also include extracts or concentrates.

Supplements: serious nutrition or hype?

If you've ever wandered the aisles of your local vitamin shop, you probably noticed that supplements come in all shapes and sizes. Some are capsules, others are gummy bears, and still others come in powder form.

Yes, the idea behind health supplements is to improve your health and to support a healthy lifestyle by providing nutrients that may be missing in people's daily diets. Supplements can help fill in any gaps if you have a poor diet or if you're unable to eat certain foods because of allergies.

The point of view regarding the benefits

The most common reason for using health supplements is the belief that they can make up for a deficiency in the diet. Others take supplements in the hope of improving a medical condition or to prevent ageing.

Most people also like supplements because they are convenient. In the morning, it's easy to down a packet of protein powder with a glass of water instead of having to prepare something else. At work or on the road, it's easier to swallow an Omega-3 capsule than to slurp on the oil. And if you're travelling or in a situation where you need extra nutrition but don't want to wait on an order, supplements can make all the difference.

Generally, supplements are designed to address specific nutritional needs such as:

  • Digestive support - probiotics;
  • Increased energy - caffeine and guarana;
  • Pain relief - chondroitin sulf;
  • Weight management - Garcinia Cambogia Extract;
  • Sexual Health - Panax ginseng, L-arginine;
  • Hair and Skincare - Biotin;
  • Mood Enhancers - Tryptophan;

The bottom line is that supplements aren't all hype - they can help you get more out of your diet and lifestyle choices. If you are trying to improve your diet overall, they can be a simple way to help boost your nutrition without much work or cost!

Why health supplement have become necessary

Widespread depletion of nutrients in our food

There has been widespread depletion of nutrients in our food supply over the years due to modern farming practices and the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers that eliminate trace minerals and vitamins from our food. The soil in which fruits and vegetables grow is depleted of many of the nutrients our bodies need to function properly. For example, removal of minerals like magnesium from bodies of freshwater have been reported by WHO in the past.

Junk Food Consumption is high

Junk food
A lot of people's diets are far from healthy: a burger here, fries there, pizza for dinner and ice cream for dessert. That's not "balanced." It's not even close. With so many unhealthy options readily available and being consumed by so many people, it's no wonder health supplements have become necessary. Because our diets are so lacking in these nutrients, we turn to health supplements as a means of providing us with what we're missing.

Toxins are in our food supply, in our water supply, and in the air we breathe

If you consider that our food has become depleted of nutrients over the years, and that synthetic preservatives have replaced natural ones, it's no wonder why we need supplements. The foods we're eating are full of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and hormones. The air we breathe is polluted with chemicals from factories and cars. The water we drink is filled with fluoride and chlorine.

Toxins in our environment can cause free radical damage to our cellular DNA thus making it necessary for us to supplement with antioxidants and vitamins which heal the damage done by free radicals. Antioxidants are essential nutrients that, if lacking, can result in degenerative diseases like cancer. The problem is that for many of us, we are exposed to too many toxins, so much so that it would be impossible for us to get the proper amount of antioxidants and vitamins needed just from eating healthy foods alone. Hence the need for supplementation.

Convenient way to meet Required Nutritional Quota

In recent years, the trend toward healthy eating has taken on a new meaning. Evidence has mounted that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases and help people maintain a healthy weight. But many people can't afford to buy enough fruits and vegetables to meet their nutritional needs. Enter health supplements, which are designed to be taken every day to fill nutritional gaps. They're generally not intended as a replacement for fruits, vegetables and other foods in your food pyramid. Rather, they're meant to add nutrients that you may miss out on in your regular diet.

Poor absorption of nutrients

Recent studies show that the human gut is hard to digest and absorb nutrients from the food we eat.In the US for example, half orf the population is  reported to be lacking in adequate amounts of gastric acid according to the Poliquin Group. This can be especially important as we age when digestion becomes poor and the gut becomes less efficient. Additionally, chances are with advanced age, we would take more medication that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients. A multivitamin can help with this, as it will fill in the gaps of what you need and ensure that you are getting all that you need.

Who should consume health supplements?

You may be thinking, "I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods so I don't need a multivitamin." Although this is true for some people, it's not true for everyone.

Those that do not get all of their nutrients through their diet and those that have a compromised ability to absorb necessary nutrients. Both groups can benefit from taking a broad spectrum multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.

Another category of individuals that would require health supplements are athletes, and those with compromised immunity.

That said, for the following set of people, health supplements may be necessary to stay healthy:

Pregnant women, or women that are trying to conceive

Pregnancy can be a very difficult time for many women's bodies. All of the extra hormones needed to sustain a growing baby can wreak havoc on a woman's body, creating dizziness, nausea and other discomforts. They will usually be advised to take folic acid and iron supplements.

People with certain genetic or health conditions

Some genetic or health conditions can prevent the body from getting all of the nutrients they need from food. Examples are:Inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease, Cystic fibrosis, Liver disease, Cancer etc. Since there's no way to know who falls into this category unless you have a health professional run some tests on you, it's impossible to recommend any specific products here.

Elderly People

Older adults have special nutritional needs because as we get older our bodies change in many ways. Our bodies don't absorb nutrients as well as they used to and we need more nutrients to keep our cells healthy and functioning properly.

For example, many older adults have trouble absorbing and retaining nutrients from their food. This can lead to a variety of deficiency diseases, such as anaemia (lack of red blood cells), osteoporosis (thinning bones) and tooth decay.

A good daily multivitamin supplement containing Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 will help with the formation of blood cells. Older adults also need more calcium and Vitamin D since they are important for maintaining strong bones and teeth

People with Food Allergies or Restricted Diets

Some individuals have allergies or other health problems that make certain types of food unsafe such as lactose intolerance. Such individuals may need to avoid certain types of food altogether and rely on health supplements as part of their daily nutrition intake.

If you suffer from a deficiencies

For example, say you feel tired all the time; this could be due to a lack of iron in your diet. Once you're diagnosed with this problem, taking an iron supplement could help rectify the issue and give you more energy.

Does My Child Need A Supplement?

Naturally, children get the vitamins and minerals they need from a well-balanced diet. If your child eats a variety of foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis, she probably doesn't need supplements. But if your child is at risk for a nutrient deficiency, follow your doctor's advice about how to best treat this deficiency.

A few top-tier supplements are simply a must-have

We’re constantly inundated with products we “need” to take. If you listen to some of the most successful companies in the world, they’ll move heaven and earth to get you to buy their vitamins, herbal remedies and protein shakes. So what’s the deal? Are health supplements all just a bunch of useless snake oil or are there some true winners out there? Yes, there are:

Best supplements to take for overall health

Fish Oil

Fish Oil | 2nutri

Fish oil is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own, so it must be consumed through the diet. Fish oil is composed of two omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. The body needs both of these for heart and brain health but most people do not get enough EPA and DHA from their diet alone, which is why fish oil supplements are popular.

Many people who take fish oil will notice a reduction in the amount of inflammation in their body. People who suffer from arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other painful joint problems have seen great results from taking this supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil also help prevent heart disease, strokes, and clots.

Treating high blood pressure is a big plus of fish oil as well. High blood pressure can be caused by many things, but one of these is being overweight. If you are overweight and you take fish oil, it can help you lose weight and reduce your high blood pressure at the same time.

Fish oil also helps people with depression and anxiety because of its ability to reduce inflammation in the brain and nervous system. Those who take fish oil have noticed fewer brain fog symptoms and less anxiety over time as well as better moods overall.


propolis 4000 | 2nutri
If you are looking for the best supplements to take for overall health, then you have to include Propolis in your diet. It is also known as bee glue and this substance is created by bees.

It is an immune boosting substance that helps to protect the hive from invaders. It helps to prevent bacteria, fungi and other microbes from entering their home and spreading. When consumed, it can help your body develop its protective barrier in a similar way.

This substance is rich in flavonoids and minerals and can be used for many health benefits.

Propolis has also been found to support our immune system and help to fight off a wide variety of diseases and infections. Its high antioxidant levels help protect cells from free radical damage while also supporting cardiovascular health. It has also been used to combat influenza (flu), allergies and asthma as well as providing positive effects on the skin, hair and nails.

Propolis should be considered one of nature's gifts for its ability to provide overall support for optimal health.

Probiotics, Multivitamin

Probiotics are essential to our health and well-being. These friendly bacteria that live in the body have enormous benefits for our digestive system, immune system, mental well-being and even our skin. They also have a positive effect on weight gain by increasing the number of calories we absorb from food. Probiotics are often referred to as "good" or "friendly" bacteria because they help prevent the growth of potentially harmful microbes.

Probiotics may also help people suffering from a wide range of ailments ranging from vaginal yeast infections to certain types of chronic ear infections. Studies suggest that certain probiotics may even be beneficial for people with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Final Thoughts

While there have been serious allegations back and forth regarding the efficacy of health supplements, one thing is certain: millions of people around the world  take supplements to assure that they are getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. As we pointed out above, however, health supplements cannot guarantee you’ll become healthier. If you are worried about whether or not you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs, consider looking into an eating plan or supplement routine that allows you to include more nutritious foods into your daily diet - and don’t forget to include a multivitamin in that mix as well. And if you find yourself constantly sick, consider seeing your doctor for an evaluation on your health from there you can figure out the next best steps for ensuring optimal health.

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