Who has never taken food supplements? A small magnesium cure, a bulb of vitamin D or an energy drink in the evening… They are very present and we take them in a harmless way, after all they can only do us good! But are you so sure? Are they really all good for our health?
These pills are foodstuffs designed is to supplement a normal diet, being a concentrated source of nutrients having a nutritional or physiological effect. The claims displayed on the packaging are varied: slimming, anti-stress, anti-inflammatory, revitalizing, memory boost, energizing, facing winter, preparing your skin for sunny days, digesting better …
Such products may contain vitamins, plants, fatty acids, probiotics, amino acids, minerals, enzymes, caffeine and many other similar molecules believed to have a positive effect on your healh.
Consumption is common and seems harmless
Unlike drugs, they do not require individual marketing authorization based on a prior evaluation, that is to say that their effectiveness does not need to be proven. In addition, it is easy to get them (drugstores, supermarkets, internet …). Their consumption is increasing sharply among young people as well as adults.
But can we trust them? Are they really effective and good for health?
Should we consume dietary supplements based on vitamins and minerals to supplement your food intake?
Many food supplements promise better vitality, health, skin and hair radiance or even better memory, they contain minerals and vitamins which play a role in the body compared to the promises made by the supplement. Note that these minerals, fatty acids and vitamins are already naturally present in our diet.
These supplements do not present a health risk if the recommended doses are respected and if there is no medical contraindication to their taking (beware of the risk of drug interaction for example). However, they have no use as part of a balanced and varied diet.
Are supplements needed
No need to ruin yourself by buying food supplements to have the body or health of your dreams though. A balanced, varied diet and regular physical activity will give you equivalent or even better results! You should know that vitamins, fatty acids and minerals will be better assimilated by the body if they come from your diet.
Food supplements for tanning (based on beta-carotene and others) do not protect from sunburn, so you must remain vigilant. In addition, those based on beta-carotenes are not recommended for smokers. If you are a smoker for your daily dose of beta-carotenes, refer to the foods to consume for their vitamin A and provitamin A intakes.
Food supplements for the physical (weight loss, detox, muscle gain)
Many cases of fraud have been identified in the category of food supplements for weight loss, bodybuilding, detox diets.
Indeed, these presented as 100% natural contained prohibited substances (active pharmaceutical substance!). In addition, heavy metal contamination has also been measured.
These supplements when they are fraudulent can therefore pose a health risk. When a product is checked for non-compliance it must be withdrawn from the market or if the website is outside the European Union or USA, it becomes complicated and the products are found again on the market.
For a real weight loss program, favor a balanced diet and regular physical activity. There is no need to endanger your health.
In addition, with a healthy diet and a low-pollution living environment your body is perfectly able to detoxify by itself. To check the quality of your environment and reduce potential sources of contamination, some mobile applications are available.
Sport, party, memory, concentration food supplements and energy drinks
Regarding food supplements for athletes (BCAA proteins, glutamine, β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB), α-ketoisocaproate, L-tyrosine, Argnine, Creatine, etc.) preference should be given to products conforming to FDA standards.
Energy drinks are also considered as food supplements, they can in particular contain caffeine, taurine, vitamins, plant extracts (guarana, ginseng).
These drinks should not be consumed as part of exercise or with alcohol, they are not energy drinks! There are cardiovascular risks in particular (oppression, tachycardia, hypertension, etc.).
Pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents, people sensitive to the effects of caffeine or presenting certain pathologies in particular certain cardiovascular, psychiatric and neurological disorders, renal insufficiency, severe hepatic diseases must avoid energy drinks.
If you experience any undesirable effect and you suspect a food supplement to be at the origin of it, you can report it to a health professional who can then report the product in question to the FDA.
There is no secret for better focus or memory!
To achieve the top and optimal working capacities, a good lifestyle is the key (varied diet with a contribution in good fatty acids and carbohydrates, respected sleep time, sport) as well as a good organization and training (memory can be worked!)
Plant-based food supplements
Just because a substance is natural does not mean that it is not toxic or poses health problems, this should be kept in mind. Some herbal food supplements have effects close to drugs without being as well supervised.
Certain supplements are ineffective and in the event of overdose or particular health conditions they can even prove to be harmful.
Others are very or even too effective. Some plants have effects sometimes related to those of drugs but their use in supplements is much less controlled which leads to an unfavorable risk-benefit for health.
In addition, certain sensitive populations (pregnant women, the elderly, children, the sick) are even more at risk and may be victims of undesirable effects (intestinal, cardiovascular, mood, allergies, increased risk of mortality, etc.).