“The fundamental concept of optimum nutrition heralds an entire new paradigm in medicine, no less important than that of Louis Pasteur’s discovery that organisms can cause disease. Fundamental to this is the discovery that large amounts of essential nutrients, above that available from a ‘well-balanced diet’ can help restore health in people with diseases. It is my firm belief that, in an enlightened society, pharmaceutical drugs would play a very small part in medicine.” ~ Patrick Holford
The field of dietary supplementation is one of the most popular areas in health science. Unfortunately, it feels as if one must be an actual scientist to understand which supplement helps with the appropriate deficiency, how pure the supplement is, and which variation of the supplement and dosage.
You might already be rethinking reading the rest of this article. I hope you continue because the point of this writing is to help you understand the basic principles of supplementation, the benefits, and how these differ from using medications.
A Quick Guide to Help You Understand the Difference Between Supplements and Medications
Supplements are products taken orally that contain some ingredients like vitamins and amino acids. These are usually intended to supplement a dietary need. It can enhance or improve one’s diet to reinforce the nutrient supply to your body. Supplements can also be used in addition to essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as to improve focus, enhance performance, and stimulate the nervous system.
2. Prescription Medication
Prescription Medication is a set of drugs requiring a prescription from a doctor or medical professional before it can be dispensed. This usually follows a regular schedule that should be strictly followed. Prescription medications target a particular body part in pain or a specific illness. The goal of prescription medication is to provide a cure if not to maintain and improve the body’s body’s current condition.
It is hopefully clear at this point the complexity involved with supplements and medications.
This article is not intended to guide you on which is best for your current needs. That can only really be established by a medical practitioner through precise testing.
This article hopes to help offer guidance once it is established that you will be taking supplements.
Think of medications as powerful, fast-acting interventions that can have an impact on your physiology almost immediately. There are exceptions, so keep that in mind.
Supplements typically need a longer runway to take full effect. And this is where the regularity of supplementation is vital.
Since many supplements are lower dosages, they need more frequency and a longer timeline to be as effective as advertised.
This may help shed light on the difference in your approach as you consider making changes to your health style.
If you are looking for a quick fix, you will likely be frustrated with the supplement approach.
The Greatest Benefit of Supplements
It’s challenging for any person to eat their way out of a nutritional deficiency. This may be especially true for adults who have very selective eating habits or a lifetime of dependency on convenience or others to provide nutrition.
How long you need to supplement will also be determined by your diet. If you are also making dietary changes to consume more nutrient-dense foods, then it is fair to assume that your need for medium to long-term supplementation will reduce.
There are also genetic and environmental factors that might be causing deficiencies. If you begin a regimen of supplements and don’t see some positive outcome after several weeks, it might be time to have more specific testing done.
The kinds of testing can vary, so it’s essential to seek out a professional to offer guidance. Standard tests are for food allergies, exposure to toxins and mold, and food elimination trials.
Awareness is A Big Hurdle
It can feel daunting to sift through an overwhelming amount of information. Take heart, though, because you have overcome one of the biggest hurdles in behavior change – awareness.
There is still a great deal of the public not interested in making healthy changes. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of fast-food chains which are found along 80% of the interstate exits in the U.S.
Armed with your awareness, you are now in a position to fight against the trappings of convenience that sacrifice your long-term health for a quick fix.
Your health is the most crucial aspect of your being. Learning what makes you healthiest, what hurts your chances of aging with vibrance, and how you can balance the pleasures of food with the nutrients you need to thrive is no small feat.
You have taken the first steps. Follow the links below to learn more:
- What Happens in Your Body When You Start Taking Supplements?
- Who Should I Talk to About Supplements?
- What are the Pros and Cons of Taking Supplements?