Nutritional supplements and their importance for a healthy life

Why, when and how to smoothly incorporate them into our daily routine?

On our journey to a healthy and balanced life, we strive to make inspired choices about nutrition and lifestyle. This journey to wellness has become increasingly demanding over time. Now, in a world of constant motion and turmoil, food supplements have become particularly relevant, offering us the opportunity to supplement and optimise our nutritional intake in a fair and balanced way. While at first glance it seems simple enough to choose the right product for you, due to the ever-increasing variety of options available, it is crucial to understand why, when and how to incorporate these supplements into your daily routine. In the following, we will try to clarify some aspects for an easier orientation in the world of wellness products.

Reasons for the emergence and development over time – a brief history

It is not known exactly which of them came first, but what is certain is that supplements emerged in response to the need to provide extra nutrients in the diet, to cover dietary gaps or to support certain health and performance goals. Nevertheless, among the top dietary supplements are vitamins and minerals, essential substances for optimal functioning of the human body. Vitamin C can rightly be considered one of the first substances discovered and used as a dietary supplement as early as the 18th century. It was recognized as playing a major role in preventing scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of this vitamin. Specifically, in 1747, British naval physician James Lind conducted a study that demonstrated that adequate consumption of citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, can prevent and treat this disease, characterized by bleeding gums, general weakening of the body and other serious symptoms. Subsequently, over hundreds of years, dietary supplements containing iron – to treat iron-deficiency anemia – and fish oil, an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, substances with a particularly beneficial effect on the brain and on health in general, were recognized and adopted.

To date, this particular category of health products has seen a meteoric rise, with all kinds of capsules, tablets, powders or liquids containing nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, plant extracts or even various combinations of these, intended to complete or supplement daily food intake. The hectic lifestyle, nutritional deficiencies, special requirements, scientific research, performance promotion, the 'wellness' trend and access to information are the main factors that have contributed to the growing popularity of dietary supplements. Thus, today they are no longer perceived as exclusive options for athletes or people with disabilities, but have become an integral part of a lifestyle focused on health and psycho-emotional balance.

The most popular active compounds found in food supplements

Among the most common active ingredients used in food supplements are proteins, which can be of animal origin (such as whey protein isolate) or vegetable origin (such as rice or pea protein). They play a particular role in supporting muscle growth and regeneration. Vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, calcium, etc.) are often used to prevent nutritional deficiencies and support optimal body function. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as leucine, isoleucine and valine, are known for their role in promoting muscle recovery and reducing fatigue during exercise. Creatine is commonly used to enhance performance and endurance during intense training or strenuous physical labour. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oils, are valued for their benefits on heart and nervous system health. Probiotics are used to support the health of the digestive system and maintain the balance of the intestinal flora. Herbal supplements, such as echinacea extract or ginseng, are often used to support the immune system and provide energy. In addition, antioxidants such as vitamin E or resveratrol are sought for their properties to protect cells against oxidative stress and premature ageing.

When and under what conditions should we use them?

Although most often they say that athletes and physically active people are the ones who use dietary supplements, especially those with protein and amino acids, to enhance their performance, support muscle recovery and maintain joint health, they can prove to be particularly useful and even necessary in various situations, for example if the diet does not provide enough vital nutrients - vitamins or minerals to prevent deficiency. People on restrictive diets, such as vegans or vegetarians, may need supplements to ensure adequate intake of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12 or iron. During periods of accelerated growth, childhood or adolescence, the body may need more nutrients for development. During such times, supplements can help support healthy growth. Often, older people may experience lower nutrient absorption or other specific needs, justifying supplementation with certain vitamins and minerals. The need for dietary supplementation may also be dictated by certain medical conditions, which are capable of weakening or even hindering the processes of nutrient absorption or utilisation in the body, and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, doctors or pharmacists see supplements as a solution for correcting these deficiencies and recommend them to the patient for strengthening health. However, the primary reason for the growing popularity and the number one pro-supplement argument remains the orientation of an increasing number of people towards wellness and health.

How to make the right choice?

Due to the high diversity of these products, selecting the right variants becomes quite a challenging task. When choosing the optimal food supplements, always consult a health or nutrition specialist, identify your specific needs and check the label so that you can choose those with quality ingredients and appropriate dosage. Make sure you select supplements from trusted manufacturers, and monitor your results over time while maintaining a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Balkan Pharmaceuticals, a leading manufacturer of medicines and dietary supplements in the Eastern European region, is firmly committed to the mission of providing health and wellness for every customer. This is a fundamental condition for gaining trust and building a happy and prosperous community. In its "Pro Health" range, designed to strengthen your health, you will find pharmaceutical-grade supplements with the best active ingredients for real benefits and guaranteed satisfaction.

Tags: food supplements, nutritional supplements, health, nutrition, sport, wellness, proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids.