Food supplements: a contribution to well-being

Food supplements: a contribution to well-being

Food supplements are defined by sector legislation (Directive 2002/46 / EC, implemented with the legislative decree 21 May 2004, n. 169) as: “Food products intended to supplement the common diet and which constitute a concentrated source of nutrients , such as vitamins and minerals, or other substances having a nutritional or physiological effect, in particular, but not exclusively, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibers and extracts of vegetable origin, both single and multi-compound, in pre-dosed forms “. The terms “food complement” or “food supplement”, which we often find on the label, are to be understood as synonyms of “food supplement“. Food supplements are usually marketed in small units of consumption such as: capsules, tablets, tablets, pills, chewing gum and the like, powders in sachets, liquids contained in vials, dropper bottles. The main food supplements are vitamins and mineral salts, lactic ferments, fibers, amino acids and plant extracts.

What are they for?

Food supplements do not have healing properties, the exclusive prerogative of drugs, but they can contribute to the well-being of the body by optimizing the nutritional status. Their use is recommended in case of:

  • Deficiency of certain substances: caused by incorrect nutrition or particular moments in life such as pregnancy or menopause. Cases of hypo and avitaminosis caused by unbalanced and deficient diets in which vitamin and multivitamin supplements represent a valid solution to complete the nutritional supply are not uncommon;
  • Increased need for some nutrients: excessive sweating caused by physical activity, particular environmental conditions or high fever, as well as in particular states (such as pregnancy) may require the intake of minerals through food supplements. Mineral salts represent about 6% of body weight and it is important to constantly replenish them.

The use of supplements, in order to be safe and suitable for specific individual needs, must be done in a conscious and informed manner about their function and the value of the effects performed.

Tips for their use …

– A varied and balanced diet generally provides all the nutrients the body needs and which is essential to protect and promote health and well-being in a healthy and active lifestyle. Consequently, in order to obtain overall benefits, the use of a food supplement, due to its nutritional or physiological effects, must take place in the context described above, in addition to a healthy lifestyle. It is therefore wrong to think of using food supplements to compensate for the negative effects of bad behavior.

– Food supplements are designed to aid well-being and not for the treatment of pathological conditions, which must be treated with drugs. Excessive use can become disadvantageous especially if it is prolonged over time.

– It is important to always read the label in its entirety, paying particular attention to the methods of use, storage methods and ingredients present, also in consideration of any allergies or intolerances.

– Their use in sports must in any case take into account the sport practiced, its intensity and duration, as well as specific individual conditions.

– Their use for the purpose of reducing body weight can only have a secondary and accessory effect for the specific indications given on the label. To reduce overweight and excess fat it is essential to change your eating habits, removing sedentary behaviors.

– In case of pregnancy, administration to children or if you are not in good health it is important to notify your doctor.

– Be wary of food supplements that are touted as “miracle” solutions.

On the portal of the Ministry of Health, you can consult useful information on the constituents allowed for the use of supplements and the Register which lists the products regularly notified for placing on the Italian market. In this regard, it is important to remember that the placing on the market of each food supplement by a food business operator (FBO) is subject to the electronic notification procedure to the Ministry, which assesses compliance with current legislation in order to guarantee product safety and correct information to consumers.


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