Supplements include vitamins, minerals and various other trace elements. They are not considered medicines because they are intended for healthy people and not for treating patients. Therefore, they are relatively easy to admit for sale, verification is not very complete.
In the world, there is a growing concern about the popularity of dietary supplements as there is evidence of their insecurity. In particular, in some preparations it revealed harmful impurities. This may be due to poor quality production or intentional pollution.
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.
The regulation of this industry is very weak, which is why more and more low quality medicines are put up for sale. In the United States, about 23,000 emergency care should receive food supplements per year. Doctors often experience toxic components such as heavy metals, steroids and stimulants, as well as overdose, including in children who accidentally swallowed the drug.
From 2007 to 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found undeclared ingredients in 776 dietary supplements. Almost half are drugs to improve sexual function. The most common impurities are sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil and vardenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Second in terms of pollution – dietary supplements for weight loss. Sibutramine is secretly added to them, increasing the feeling of fullness. In the third – drugs for building muscle mass, popular with bodybuilders. Synthetic steroids are mixed there.
As scientists at the California Department of Public Health, who analyzed these data, say, the concentration of impurities of active substances in food supplements that are not listed in the descriptions, most often unknown. This can create serious problems.
A healthy person does not need additional vitamins and microelements. It gets all the necessary nutrients from a balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cheese, fish, poultry, diet meat.
Even vegetarians do not need dietary supplements – vital substances are sufficient in vegetables and fruits. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be replenished with almond milk.
Vitamin deficiencies tend to be inherent in low-income countries because people can not afford normal food in sufficient quantities. However, scientists doubt that dietary supplements can replace bad foods.
Trace elements can be prescribed by a physician for treatment in exceptional cases, according to a booklet recently published by JAMA Internal Medicine of the American Medical Association. These are pregnancy planning, osteoporosis, accompanied by a deficiency of vitamin D and calcium, a proven deficiency of vitamin B12, gastrointestinal tract diseases and stomach surgery.
Manufacturers advertise dietary supplements as an effective tool to improve cognitive abilities, strengthen the immune system, maintain health. However, there is no scientific evidence for this. But it has been found that the body absorbs trace elements better in the food composition than separately. In food, nutrients are contained in the best amount for assimilation and proportions.
Scientists are constantly trying to evaluate the effectiveness of dietary supplements. For example, a review published by Cochrane Collaboration last December summarizes data from 28 studies in which 83,000 people aged 40 years or older participated.
The authors were interested in helping them 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 . The experts did not find a significant effect, although they could not draw unequivocal conclusions due to the lack of information and excessive short-term observations.
Another Cochrane publication is dedicated to taking dietary supplements in pregnant women. Women in this state are often deficient in vitamins for the development of the fetus. Scientists analyzed two dozen works, of which only one was done in an economically developed country. I was interested in the effects of vitamins and iron as well as their combinations compared to placebo.
It has been found that taking these microelements has a positive effect on the health of the pregnant woman and the fetus, reduces the risk of birth of underweight children, preterm delivery. However, taking the supplement does not affect fetal mortality.
Meanwhile, the WHO does not recommend pregnant women to take multivitamins.