The term “Food supplements” describes substances intended to supplement the normal diet. They are marketed in dosage forms, in formulas such as capsules, lozenges, tablets, pills, and the like, as well as powder sachets, liquid product cartridges, dropper vials, and other similar forms of liquids and powders that are taken in small measured unit quantities.
During the last few decades, there has been a documented increase in the use of food supplements around the world. Modern lifestyle, intake of processed foods, excessive alcohol consumption, stress are some of the causes that have led many people to a monotonous diet, poor in vitamins and other micronutrients and to a subsequent search for artificial vitamins.
Food supplements can contain the following ingredients alone or in combination:
- Trace elements
- Herb extracts
- Amino acids
- Extracts of tissues and glands (prostate, thymus, thyroid, liver, spleen, pancreas, pituitary gland, gelatin etc)
- Royal jelly
- Beer yeast
- Fatty acids
The rational use of dietary supplements combined with a healthy diet can make a real contribution to health promotion and disease prevention.
Who needs food supplements?
Supplements are not substitutes for a balanced diet. A diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sufficient protein and healthy fats should naturally provide all the nutrients required for good health. However, foods no longer contain the amounts of micronutrients that did 50 years ago, resulting in the accumulation of deficiencies of these components in the human body.
According to surveys conducted around the world, some population groups seem to benefit more from the use of multivitamin formulations than others. Young children, women, the elderly and athletes need higher amounts of vitamins.
Specific population groups or individuals may need supplements, even if they follow a healthy balanced diet, such as women of reproductive age or people under a particular medication.
Recent research suggests that 50-70% of Europeans have a deficient nutritional status in vitamin D. As the nutritional status of vitamin D depends not only on dietary intake but also on exposure to ultraviolet radiation, advice on taking vitamin D supplements may be more important in northern Europe. Some of these populations (including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden) already have relevant recommendations for specific groups, although more research is needed.
The significance of Personalized Supplements is based on the simple fact that each individual needs a different combination of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. This notion becomes even more apparent if we bring into our minds the supplement needs of a teenager and a woman into menopause for example. It is only logical that 2 biochemically different organisms have different needs too.
New, innovative diagnostic tests can nowadays reveal the needs of an individual in terms of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. Thus, a completely personalized Micronutrients-Supplement can be compounded. It comes without saying that, even this supplement like all others needs to be taken for a specific period of time and under the supervision of a skilled Health Specialist.