There are many types of natural supplements which make it easy to find the right supplement or combination of dietary supplements that can help to maintain good health and even help to treat certain health conditions. But it’s important to know the various types of supplements and their purposes so that you make wise choices for your particular dietary needs. Here is a basic list of the various kinds of dietary supplements available.
While many people may assume that all supplements are simply vitamins, that is not the case. Technically, vitamins are only one category of supplements, although perhaps the most important. There are 13 important vitamins that are necessary for the body to function properly. Some are fat soluble and others are water soluble. Some are synthesized in the body through foods, and a vitamin such as vitamin D, is naturally activated in the body through sunlight. So, it’s important to understand the difference between the various vitamins and the roles they play in good health before adding a supplement product to your diet.
Mineral nutrients are supplements that are found in two basic categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals, such as calcium, are essentially important in promoting bone strength, but should be accompanied by vitamin D and other minerals, such as boron, to insure proper absorption. An important trace mineral is selenium, which studies have shown to be an important antioxidant in fighting cancer and supporting the immune system.
Herbal supplements are a third category of natural supplements that are not in themselves vital to the body in the same way as are vitamins and minerals. However, many herbs offer inherently high medicinal and nutritional value. Some of these plant-based supplements are highly effective for various health conditions and are often used as natural remedies. For example, a combination of golden seal and echinacea is highly effective in boosting the immune system, fighting off colds and allergies, healing infections and assisting respiratory recovery after illnesses. Both were used by Native American Indians centuries ago for their proven ability to treat and heal certain health issues.
The fourth basic category is nutritional supplements, which are simply specialty supplements that are used for certain specific purposes, such as anti-aging and bodybuilding. For example, even though vitamins and minerals are always a part of an effective bodybuilding program, specialty supplements such as whey protein, creatine and HGH are main staples for many ardent fitness enthusiasts.
In order to best use supplements to your health advantage, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the various types of natural supplements. Learning which supplements are best used for specific reasons is the first step in supporting your body for total health and performance.