Supplements include vitamins, minerals, and various other trace elements. They are not considered drugs because they are intended for healthy people and not for the treatment of patients. Therefore, it is relatively easy to admit to sale, control is not very thorough.
There is growing concern over the popularity of food supplements around the world, as there is evidence of their uncertainty. In particular, harmful impurities have been detected in some preparations. This may be due to poor production quality or deliberate contamination.
In the US, it sold up to 80,000 food supplements. The market is valued at forty billion dollars. A quarter of Americans, including children, are constantly taking vitamins.
Regulation of this sector is very weak, and therefore, poor quality drugs are increasingly being sold. In the United States, about 23,000 emergency call calls occur every year due to taking dietary supplements. Doctors usually experience toxic components such as heavy metals, steroids and stimulants, as well as overdoses, including children who accidentally swallow the drug.
From 2007 to 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified undeclared ingredients in 776 food supplements. Nearly half of them are drugs to increase sexual function. The most common impurities are sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil and vardenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
In second place in terms of pollution – dietary supplements for weight loss. Sibutramine is secretly added to them, which increases the feeling of fullness. In the third – drugs for building muscle mass, popular with bodybuilders. Synthetic steroids are mixed there.
As the researchers at the California Department of Public Health have said, these concentrations of drug impurities in nutritional supplements are not mentioned in the descriptions, most often unknown. This can cause serious problems.
A healthy person doesn't need extra vitamins and microelements. It receives all the necessary nutrients from a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cheese, fish, poultry, diet meat.
Even veggies do not need food supplements – vital substances are sufficient for vegetables and fruits. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be supplemented with almond milk.
Vitamin deficiency is inherent in low-income countries because people cannot afford a normal diet in sufficient quantities. But scientists doubt that food supplements can replace bad foods.
Trace elements may be prescribed by a physician for treatment in exceptional cases, according to a leaflet recently published by JAMA Internal Medicine American Medical Association. These include pregnancy planning, osteoporosis, vitamin D and calcium deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, gastrointestinal disease, and stomach surgery.
Manufacturers advertise food supplements as an effective tool to improve cognitive abilities, strengthen the immune system, maintain health. However, there is no scientific evidence. However, the body has been found to better absorb trace elements in food composition than separately. In foods, nutrients are contained in the best amount for assimilation and proportion.
Scientists are constantly trying to evaluate the effectiveness of food supplements. For example, a review published by Cochrane Collaboration last December summarizes data from 28 studies involving 83,000 people aged 40 and over.
The authors were interested in helping to maintain healthy thinking and reduce the risk of dementia in old age with supplements containing folic acid, B12, B6, beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium, zinc, copper, selenium and also multivitamins. Experts did not find a significant impact, although they could not draw clear conclusions because of lack of information and excessive short-term observations.
Another Cochrane publication is devoted to the use of dietary supplements in pregnant women. Women in this condition are often a lack of vitamins for fetal development. Scientists analyzed two dozen works, of which only one was implemented in an economically developed country. I was interested in the effects of vitamins and iron and their combinations compared to placebo.
The use of these microelements has been shown to have a positive effect on the health of the pregnant woman and the unborn child, reducing the risk of birthing low weight children, premature birth. However, the use of this supplement does not affect the mortality of the unborn.
Meanwhile, WHO does not recommend pregnant women to use multivitamins.