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Nutritional Supplements: Interesting Facts And Classification

Nutritional supplements are prepared, or processed in different ratios to serve different needs or deficiencies, and these are intended to have a more complete and balanced diet, are consumed orally in a particular routine.

Some examples of nutritional or dietary supplements are as follows:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Herbs, or other Plant Products
  • Amino Acids
  • Food Components such as Enzymes.

Dietary supplements come in different forms and presentations, such as tablets, capsules, liquids, bars, and powders, but by no means nutritional supplements are a substitute for conventional food, nor as a single component of a meal or diet.

However, with the help of an expert nutritionist or by consulting your physician you can prepare a robust dietary chart with supplements having a wide range of nutritional values, that can supply you with enough energy and nutrition to replace your meal totally!

In this context, it is very important to understand supplements and food complement.

Difference Between Nutritional Supplement And Food Complement

Nutritional Supplements

Supplements are those that can help to replace any dietary deficiency. Its function is to cover the lack of mineral or vitamin that is not obtained through regular feeding.

Example: infant baby, whose mother can not breastfeed, is given milk formula to meet their total diet.

Food Complements

Complements are compounds that help establish levels of deficiency of some nutrients, whose contribution is insufficient in the diet.

Interesting Facts About Supplements Such As Vitamins, Multivitamins

Polish biochemist, Casimir Funk, called the group of substances that are necessary for cellular functioning, growth, and development, such as vitamins. It is composed of “vita” life and an “amine” substance that contains ammonia.

Dr. Carl Rehnborg created the first multivitamin in the 1930s!

Between 1912 and 1940 all the vitamins we know today were discovered and artificially synthesized for human consumption.

Essential Nutrients You Are Missing In Your Regular Diet

Some of the nutrients always fall short even with a routine diet and that need to be supplemented are:

  • Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): It is recommended in periods of pregnancy, to avoid some congenital defects of embryos.
  • Vitamin C: It prevents or can treat cold, although the benefits of taking large amounts of Vitamin C for treating cold still a matter of debate.
  • Vitamin B12: It contributes to forming red blood cells in the blood, its deficit can cause anemia.
  • Calcium: Low consumption of Calcium can lead to insufficient mineralization of cartilage and bones in children and adolescents. A reduction in bone mass (osteoporosis) in adults, alterations of the immune system. It also has an important function in the correct process of blood coagulation.
  • Vitamin D: The insufficient consumption of Vitamin D can favor the presence of rickets, osteoporosis, dysfunction of the immune system. A 20-minute exposure to sunlight would be enough to synthesize the vitamin D needed by the body, but if not, dairy products and their derivatives are foods with considerable amounts of this vitamin.
  • Vitamin A: The inadequate consumption of Vitamin A can cause night blindness, that is, the visual capacity decreases at night. Extreme sensitivity to light can also develop. Fruits and vegetables are an important source of beta carotene, the precursor pigment of Vitamin A.
  • Iron: Iron deficiency is related to low or inadequate oxygenation of the blood, which can trigger anemia iron deficiency. The main symptoms are fatigue, weakness, and poor performance (school or work).

    According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency anemia is one of the main nutritional diseases worldwide. Some food sources of iron are legumes, vegetables, and foods of animal origin.

Classification Of Nutritional Supplements

Classification By Protein

Polymer Diets Intact proteins
Oligo-monomer Diets Partially hydrolyzed proteins (Oligomeric Diet) free amino acids (Monomeric Diet)
Normoproteic Diets Proteins 14-18% of total calories
Hyperproteic Diets Proteins more than 18-20% of total calories

Classification By Caloric Density (Energy In Kcal Per Unit Volume)

Normocaloric Diets1kcal / ml
Hypercaloric DietsMore than 1kcal / ml

The calories of the food are measured by calorimetry, when food is heated, applied heat is measured and the energy that is released.

The calories are expressed in kcal / 100g of food. This is what denotes the energy value of the food. Generally, in adults the average requirement is seen as below:

Women1800 to 2100 kilocalories (kcal)
Men 2,000 to 2,400 kilocalories (kcal)

Classification Based On Special Formulation

Based on different use cases or to serve different purposes, a specific formulation is developed. Such as, diabetic patients, oncology, high blood pressure, kidney disease, etc.

Classification By Nature Of Origin


Classification By Chemical Composition (Most Abundant Element)


Classification Based On Functionality In The Body

Plastic or Constructor

Classification Based On Possibility Of Conservation

Non Perishable
Semi Perishable