Dietary Supplements – What To Use, When and How?

List of Dietary Supplements:

Dietary SupplementsDietary supplements are widely recommended by natural health care practitioners as a great way to improve immunity, reduce body’s oxidative stress and provide multiple health benefits. The use of dietary supplements in America is a rather controversial topic since these were not strictly regulated by the FDA until recent times as, for example, medications or food additives. The information on how to take certain dietary supplements is usually very vague and could be misleading at times. It’s also unclear whether dietary supplements are safe for pregnant and nursing women and for individuals affected by chronic health conditions since the medical studies are rather limited and inconclusive.

Dietary supplements are available in multiple forms, including capsules, pills, liquid suspensions or powder. All dietary supplements should be purchased from reputable sources in clearly labeled bottles with precise instructions on how and when to take them. Some dietary supplements should be taken with meals, others only before or after. It’s also important whether you should drink water or other liquids to wash them down. Below we present information on the most common dietary supplements.

Do not get mislead with seemingly innocent definition of dietary supplements as almost all of them carry a list of side effects in case of overdose or if taken by individuals with preexisting medical conditions. If in doubt, always consult your physician whether a certain vitamin or mineral is safe to be taken with your medical history and a list of currently prescribed medicines.

Amino Acids

Amino acids play a very important role in controlling major bodily functions as digestion, muscle growth, maintaining blood vessels and arteries in ultimate condition, proper sexual function and nervous system. Amino acids are readily available through food especially from animal sources like poultry, pork and meat products. However, if you have recently recovered from a major illness, have compromised immune system or have certain metabolic disorders your body may have trouble synthesizing amino acids naturally and you may need to supplement. These supplements should only be taken before meals to be metabolized properly according to packaging instructions. Some side effects from taking L-Cysteine may result in excessive gas, gastrointestinal distress and allergic reactions. L-Glutamine is not recommended for patients affected with liver disease.


Antioxidants are a large group of dietary supplements that are routinely recommended to be taken by virtually everybody due to their fantastic health benefits. Everyday exposure to toxic chemicals through air, water, food and household products result in major oxidative stress for a person’s body. High levels of oxidations lead to a host of diseases, make us age faster and contribute to various unfavorable changes in our bodies. Vitamins C and E are considered one of the most popular antioxidants taken regularly by millions of Americans. Green tea and an important antioxidant called resveratrol found in grape seeds are other incredible supplements helping rid our bodies from free radicals and toxins. Carotenoids found in brightly colored vegetables and leafy greens protect our body from multiple diseases and supply cells with energy. Antioxidants must only be taken with food to be digested properly and avoid excessive gas formation and stomach upsets.


Dietary mineral supplements like calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, iodine and potassium are essential components of a healthy diet. It’s essential to learn when and how to take these supplements since their benefits depend mainly on how well your body can absorb them. Calcium should only be taken with food since it requires stomach acids for proper digestion. In addition, calcium supplements work better if combined with 50% more of magnesium. This creates better calcium absorption and balance of micro nutrients in the body. Avoid taking minerals with coffee, tea or dairy beverages since compounds in these beverages can interfere with proper dietary supplement absorption. Potassium supplements are only recommended if you take strong diuretics in case with high blood pressure or other health conditions to replenish lost minerals.

Fat Burners

Fat burners are widely used by individuals seeking to lose weight effortlessly. The use of fat burners is very controversial and can lead to a myriad of side effects if not taken properly under doctors’ orders. One of very popular weight loss supplements is Hoodia gordonii that can control appetite for a long period of time and can even suppress stomach juices production. The effectiveness of Hoodia supplements has not been clinically proven, therefore, it is unclear whether this supplement is safe if used regularly to suppress appetite. Some patients reported loss of not only appetite but even thirst altogether while taking Hoodia which may be dangerous in itself and result in dehydration. Another once popular fat burner Hydroxycut contained a host of dangerous chemicals which are responsible for many undesirable side effects and was banned by FDA. If you are severely overweight and have trouble losing weight, it’s recommended you discuss these concerns with your doctor before taking potentially dangerous weight loss supplements.

Bodybuilding Supplements

Bodybuilding supplements have permeated virtually all stores that sell dietary supplements for health conscious consumers. Bodybuilding supplements include a range of ingredients that help improve muscle growth, enhance athletic performance, accelerate recovery after strenuous activities and injuries and elevate mental focus. Creatine monohydrate is one of the best selling body building supplements that helps accomplish all the mentioned above benefits easily by mixing it into your favorite drink. It’s important you learn how to take similar products correctly to reach their optimum efficacy. For example, creatine needs to be taken in several stages to become effective, namely, loading stage when you take at least 30 grams of powdered product and maintenance stage necessary of 15 grams every day to maintain the achieved results of muscle gains. Nitric oxide overdose can lead to significant reactions like allergies, headaches and even tremors.