How Do Food Supplements Work?

Eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure that our body receives all the necessary nutrients. However, the lack of time to cook and eat healthily at all meals makes it necessary to introduce some food supplements in order to obtain all the vitamins and nutrients you need.

But what are dietary supplements? How do they work? Are they really effective? We answer all these questions below.

What are food supplements?


Food supplements, as their name suggests, are products that have been created to complement a healthy diet. Among the most prominent ingredients in dietary supplements are minerals, vitamins, enzymes, fatty acids, and amino acids.

Of course, it is important to note that they are not substitutes for any food. The supplements are intended to provide some nutrients that, due to current circumstances, are not being consumed and, therefore, are missing from the body.

It is always recommended that before consuming any type of supplement you consult your doctor since, although they are not drugs, excessive consumption of any type of supplement is not recommended.

When is it recommended to take nutritional supplements?

These types of supplements should never replace a healthy and balanced diet. They are created to prevent nutritional deficiencies caused by a poor diet at a specific time of life. But not to take it regularly and, much less to use them as substitutes.

When is it recommended to take these supplements? Although it is the doctor who must determine when you need to take supplements, there are some cases in which taking them is strictly necessary.

During pregnancy

All women who have become pregnant will have taken folic acid (vitamin B9) supplementation to prevent a deficit. Lack of folic acid during pregnancy is associated with developmental problems in the fetus and an increased risk of defects in the neutral tube. That is why, in addition to the supplement, it is recommended to reinforce it through food.

Likewise, during pregnancy, Health recommends taking iron and iodine supplements to prevent possible anemia and ensure proper brain development of the fetus.

In the third age

During old age it is important to pay special attention to diet to continue ingesting the same vitamins as before. Taking some medications or a lower absorption capacity of vitamins and nutrients, may make taking a nutritional supplement necessary.

It will be the doctor who determines what supplements you should based on the results of your tests. Normally, vitamin B12 is prescribed, which is related to protecting the brain.


Despite the fact that a vegetarian diet can be very complete, it must be borne in mind that in this type of diet, vitamin B12 is not obtained in any way when it is obtained from foods of animal origin. That is why people who do not consume any food of animal origin should take the vitamin B12 supplement.

On the other hand, it is also advisable to add an extra supply of calcium or iron. However, if the diet is really varied and rich in all kinds of ingredients, it will not be necessary. Either way, check with your doctor.

Do supplements work?

Although not all supplements that are in vogue are scientifically based, most of them, especially those that are recommended by doctors, do work. That is why we always recommend that, if you need supplementation, you go to the doctor and discuss your specific situation. Based on your medical history and the results of the tests, it will tell you whether or not you need some type of nutritional supplement.