There are many food supplements available on the market, but which one is the right one for each person? When are they beneficial and when are they ineffective or even harmful?
The idea behind food supplements, also known as nutritional or dietary supplements, is to provide all the nutrients that may not be consumed in sufficient quantities. They are made up of micronutrients or macronutrients, which are consumed in doses complementary to the daily diet. Food supplements can be vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace minerals. They contain peptides and combinations of nitrogen, oils, fatty acids and their esters, fibre and other herbal, animal or microbial ingredients, as well as fermentation products and are delivered in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, liquids, etc. Supplements are not a substitute for a balanced healthy diet.
How balanced is our diet?
A balanced diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, adequate protein and healthy fats. Partly due to our modern lifestyle, not everyone manages to follow a balanced healthy diet. European research on nutrition has shown that there are suboptimal intakes for several micronutrients.
But what happens when food is not consumed according to the principles of metabolism: digestion, absorption and excretion?
Stress and tension during irregular and rushed meals, as well as the deficiency of digestive and food enzymes, cause these metabolic principles to disrupt. So, foods are not fully digested, causing discomfort and indigestion, and are not absorbed, resulting in poor nutrition and nutrient imbalance. According to WHO (World Health Organization) the imbalanced intake of some nutrients creates diseases and chronic illnesses. The EU-funded EURRECA study found insufficient intakes for vitamin C, vitamin D (50% of Europeans have low levels of vitamin D), folic acid, calcium, selenium and iodine.
Examples of population groups requiring specific advice about supplements
People over age 50
|Vitamin D, Vitamin Β12, folate. The elderly may benefit from a low-dose multivitamin supplement|
|Strengthening of natural immunity against the new virus||Vitamin C, Zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium, polyphenols, drinkable oregano essential oil, cold pressed sea buckthorn seed oil extract|
|Women in reproductive age||Folic acid and vitamin D, possibly iron|
|Children under age 5||Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D. However, children with a good appetite who eat a wide variety of food may not need them|
|Breastfeeding women||Vitamin D, low-dose calcium supplement with vitamins and minerals|
|Vegetarians||Vitamin Β12, vitamin D|