Food supplements and risks
Food supplements and risks

Food supplements and risks

To avoid deficiencies and keep fit, more and more people over 60 years consume food supplements. However, with food and drug intake, there are risks linked to excess a particular nutrient.

To avoid overdose,we  advise you to a sensible use of food supplements .

Food supplements should provide more health benefits than risks. However, scientific evidence on the subject are scarce, especially regarding the effect “cocktail” of dietary supplements: in fact, in addition to the power already contributes to the nutrient intake, certain medications may also contain. Where a risk of potentially dangerous to health overdose, the opposite of the desired effect.

If everyone is concerned, it is the elderly who seem most exposed because of frequent polypharmacy. This is why they must be especially vigilant.

The value of food supplements after 60 years

Whether to promote the well-being (joint and digestive comfort) reduce risk factors (hypertension, overweight) or maintain a healthy capital (vitality, memory, slow cellular aging thanks to antioxidants …) food supplements are given in many cases for seniors, in addition to a balanced diet.

Dietary supplements can be divided into categories based on what they contain:

– Nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements) and / or

– Physiological effect Substances (prebiotics, probiotics, natural products)

– Plants or plant extracts (red grape, cranberry, borage …).

According to Karine Rouère, Dietitian-Nutritionist 15ème2 in Paris, “there is no specific food supplement for seniors but customized micro-nutrionnels protocols that must be implemented and adapted to the needs of each and preferably preventively “. However, it is good to remain attentive to the choice of products due to a varied offer accessible to everyone.

A push consumption by increasing commercial offer

In France, 27% of women and 13% of men consume regularly (an average of 3 to 4 months per year) of alimentaires3 supplements. “If the expected physiological effects are numerous (natural defenses, joints, digestion, heart / vessels, relaxation / sleep, urinary comfort, memory / intellect, vision / visual acuity), the effectiveness of dietary supplements is however only rarely established scientifically in real conditions of use; that is to say taking a food supplement for a period of three weeks, combined with a balanced diet) “reflects Professor Marie-Paule Vasson of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Clermont Ferrand4. So consumers (especially the elderly who may be more vulnerable) to step back facing the catchy advertisements some dietary supplements sold by example on the Internet, at trade shows or fairs.

Food supplements and fortified foods: possible but rare risks

The simultaneous absorption of several products that provide similar ingredients (food supplements and fortified food) is not recommended. Indeed, if you take a tablet vitamin mix and you consume the same time dairy products fortified with vitamin D, margarine fortified with vitamin A and orange juice fortified with vitamin C, it is likely that you be overdose. With the key to increased risks: for example, beyond a higher consumption to 1 g per day of vitamin C can cause kidney stones quotidien5, upset stomach or diarrhea.

The prevention of oxidative stress, involved in the development of many diseases (cardiovascular, cancer) is often alleged among the biological effects of dietary supplements. “However antioxidant cocktail (containing vitamins C and E, b-carotene, zinc, selenium …), where the dose is sometimes supra-nutritional, must be used with care. Clinical trials of supplementation in pharmacological dose or nutritional doses have indeed shown an increased incidence, including cancer diseases in people at risk, such as smokers, for example, “continues Professor Marie-Paule Vasson.

Some advice before opting for food supplements 

The main approach is to make the point with a health professional ( nutritionist or your doctor) to evaluate your eating habits and your lifestyle. As part of an imbalance, the establishment of a micro-nutritional protocol customized with a specialized therapist may be considered in addition to a balanced diet and diverse. “Blood work is not always necessary to establish a micro-nutritional protocol because it is not always possible to highlight some deficiencies such as lack of magnesium, for example.” In any case, if you invest in food supplements, choose those recommended by your doctor and from a laboratory complying with the French regulations.

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  • Great post! I remember about a year ago an article came out from some medical journal and a study found that taking vitamins really didn’t yield any benefits from those who didn’t take vitamins. However, pregnant women should still take them and I’m sure the medical community still supports supplements in the elderly, too! Specifically, Calcium.

  • I think food supplements are great but if you’re completely healthy and are capable of making balanced meals, that an even better choice than taking supplements. It’s good to have supplements around but for me they are only for people who really need a certain supply of vitamin that their body can’t get through food or they need more of it because of a deficiency.

  • I have a read a lot of post about health supplements but I guess this one really explained the pros and cons. I totally agree that you shouldnt be taking any of these without the doctor’s guidance

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