Food supplements: when are they useful?

In 2023, nearly 60% of French people have taken food supplements. Three-quarters buy them regularly, to sleep better, be more fit or strengthen their immunity (2023 Harris Interactive Observatory for Synadiet – National Union of Food Supplements). However, the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) reminds that a varied and balanced diet is sufficient to cover our nutritional needs…

Vitamins, minerals, omega 3, to fill deficiencies

These supplements are of interest to small eaters and those who exclude certain categories of food. People avoiding fish have no intake of omega 3 EPA or DHA. Vegetarians may lack iodine, selenium, and vegans*, calcium and vitamins B2, B12 and D. ANSES therefore recommends seeking medical advice. Indeed, the difference between the recommended intake (labeled “nutritional reference value”) and the safety limit (intake beyond which a nutrient becomes toxic) can be slight. Thus, an excess of zinc reduces the effectiveness of immune defenses, like a deficiency. The pro-oxidant effect of iron can generate oxidative stress, promoting chronic diseases. Excess vitamin A appears to promote postmenopausal osteoporosis. Beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers or ex-smokers…

* Vegans, like vegetarians, exclude all products of animal origin from their diet (meat, fish, seafood), but also eggs, dairy products and honey.

Read also> These anti-fatigue vitamins and minerals

Probiotics, to rebalance the intestinal microbiota

By arriving alive in the colon, probiotics (microorganisms) modulate the composition of the microbiota. When it is unbalanced, following antibiotic treatment or advancing age (causing digestive disorders or more frequent infections), probiotics can be useful in addition to fermented foods. Studies show the interest of strains Saccharomyces boulardii (ultra yeast), Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Vit'All+) in case of diarrhea, or Bifidobacterium longum (Symbiosys Alflorex+) and Lactobacillus acidophilus in case of irritable intestine (Lactibiane Tolérance de Pileje). The effect of probiotics varies from one person to another, it is sometimes necessary to test several in the absence of improvement or occurrence of digestive disorders

Read also> Prebiotics and probiotics… what are they used for exactly?

Plants, in moderation against minor ailments

To relieve heavy legs, digest better or sleep, herbal capsules can be an alternative to herbal teas. Better to stick to the classic red vine, peppermint, lemon balm… without exceeding three weeks of treatment.

The National Academy of Medicine recalls that Some of the plants authorized in over-the-counter dietary supplements have pharmacological effects comparable to drugs. Senna or buckthorn, “stimulating laxatives”, are thus prescribed as a last resort by gastroenterologists because their irritating effect can cause constipation! The Academy also points out the risk of falsification: certain species – such as those of ginseng supposed to fight fatigue – look similar and can have a different impact on health. As the control of batches from Asia is random, it is better to buy Panax ginseng, anti-fatigue ginseng, in pharmacies. And in all cases: respect the duration of the cures and the doses indicated by the manufacturer without exceeding one month without medical advice; do not combine food supplements and medications with equivalent nutrients; when purchasing online, limit yourself to well-known brands (Pileje, Solgar, Bion); consult without delay if symptoms persist despite treatment.

Read also> 4 reflexes to avoid scams and dangers of food supplements

Gummies are not candy!

Recently, supplements have taken the form of gums, which are more attractive to children and adults alike. Their limit: making us ingest unwanted flavors, colorings, sugars or sweeteners and encouraging us to consume more than the recommended dose. The dosage of gummies varies from one preparation to another, the expert eye of the pharmacist is useful to check that the vitamin and mineral contents comply with the recommended daily intake and to avoid any harmful excess.

Read also> Gummies, these food supplements in the form of candies, an ally for our health?

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