Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Supplement: What Does this Term Really Mean?
 
Supplement: What Does this Term Really Mean?
By Davey Dunn
Supplement and supplementation are terms that have become prominent in the World today but it appears that many people do not understand their purpose or meaning. Supplement is defined in the dictionary as something that completes or makes an addition. In terms of the human body supplement means to use vitamins, minerals, herbs and other naturally based products to improve health, prevent illness and increase athletic performance.
The one thing that a supplement is not is a magic bullet that can be used to cure whatever problem you may have. I think it is the advertising and propaganda from the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex that has led people to believe that ingesting the right pill will suddenly cure whatever ails them. This is untrue even for prescription medication and is definitely not the case when it comes to supplements.
The most important concept to grasp when taking supplements is that it will take time to see results. It can take the human body almost a year to completely replace every cell that you have. When you start taking vitamins and minerals as supplements you are giving your body improved raw material to build these new cells. Since it can take up to a year to grow the new cells based on the improved nutrition you should not expect results to happen overnight. You will not see the full effects of your supplementation until your body has had a chance to replace the old cells with the new.
You should also understand that one nutrient alone will probably not be enough. The human body is extremely complex and uses thousands and perhaps even millions of different chemical combinations to keep you going properly. Most vitamins and minerals are only effective when they are combined with other nutrients in the right way. This is what is called synergy and is very important in understanding how your body works in relation to supplementation.
For most people in today's World vitamin and mineral supplementation has become essential for good health. Due to the way crops are harvested and processed many of the natural vitamins and minerals are greatly diminished by the time they are consumed. The only sensible way to make up for the deficiencies in the average diet is through a vitamin and mineral supplement. The ease of use and low cost make such supplementation one of the best choices the average person can make toward improving their life.
Another thing that supplements are not is a substitute for a good diet and regular exercise. Supplements like vitamins and minerals can help to make up for deficiencies that you might have in your diet but they are not a substitute for food. In much the same way you cannot expect to just pop a pill instead of exercising. The right supplements can make exercising much easier and more productive but you are still going to have to do the work.
An analogy that we have used before here at Nutrition & Health OnLine magazine is that using supplements is similar to driving a car. While you can still travel by foot and reach just about any destination there is no arguing that using a car can make the trip much faster and much easier. Many of the supplements available for improving your body are similar to a car. Losing weight and building muscle can be done without certain supplements but why not use something that will make the task faster and easier.
Understanding what supplements are, why and when they should be used will help you to get the most out of your supplementation. When used properly, supplements are extremely safe and effective and can drastically improve the quality of your life. Keep the principles that we have discussed in this article in mind when you choose your supplements and you will assure yourself that you will get the most out of your supplementation.
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