Vitamin supplements are products that concentrate a large amount of nutrients and serve to supplement dietary intake in special situations, but should not replace a healthy diet.
Under normal circumstances, an adequate and balanced diet provides all the nutrients necessary for the normal development and maintenance of a healthy body.
It should be clarified that, although different names are used to refer to these products, the correct legal name is food supplements.
Food supplements should be taken according to the doses recommended by the specialist and should not be exceeded.
Food supplements are only indicated when the diet cannot fully meet nutritional requirements.
For good nutrition, there are tools such as the Healthy Eating Pyramid or the Healthy Eating Plate, which translate scientific knowledge into food and teach us clearly how to eat to meet our nutrient needs and maintain our health.
Their use may be justified in some population groups or life stages, e.g. in the case of:
Although these products are available over-the-counter, healthcare professionals are the ones who have the knowledge and tools to assess and guide the patient.
Food supplements are regulated by legislation.. This means that its composition is determined.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, food supplements may contain amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre, various plants and herbal extracts.
The labelling of vitamin supplements shall bear the name of the categories of nutrients or substances that characterise the product, or an indication of the nature of those nutrients or substances.
There are vitamins and minerals obtained from animal or plant sources, and synthetic vitamins and minerals.. The purity and chemical structure of the product will determine its effectiveness.
Nevertheless, natural does not mean risk-free. Excessive and continued intake of vitamins and minerals can sometimes be harmful to health, and EFSA warns against this by setting maximum permissible intake levels, taking into account all dietary sources.
Food supplements do not require a medical prescription. However, although food supplements are not medicines, they require appropriate and responsible use.
The gastrointestinal system is responsible for incorporating nutrients into the internal environment. The chemical structure of vitamins and minerals determines their biological activity and may condition their absorption, transport, storage or degradation and therefore their effects. Some studies show that the effectiveness of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals is higher.
The best vitamin is the one that is in the food.
When, for whatever reason, in adolescence or at other stages of life, the diet is insufficient, food supplements can provide support. But we cannot attribute symptoms such as tiredness or apathy, subjective manifestations that may be due to various causes, to a lack of vitamins; nor can we deduce, without an evaluation to justify it, that periods of exams or a lot of physical work require multivitamins.
A medical examination, an assessment of dietary intake, or nutritional biochemistry are tools that help us health professionals to make a diagnosis and a personalised recommendation; they are also accompanied by a follow-up, to observe whether the nutritional deficiency is resolved and to determine when to suspend the treatment.
The legal definition of food supplements are food products which are intended to supplement the normal diet.. These are concentrated sources of nutrients or other substances that have a nutritional or physiological effect.
They usually occur in single or combined forms. They are marketed in different formats, such as capsules, tablets, pills, tablets, pills and other similar forms, powder sachets, liquid ampoules, etc.
It is important to emphasise that it is useful when, for various reasons, the diet cannot be varied and balanced, we are thinking of a state that prevents a complete dietary intake; or also, in a stage of life with particularly high nutritional needs, which despite eating well, cannot be fully satisfied.
Where necessary, it is advisable to check that the company marketing the product is registered, by checking its registration in the health register.
And of course, we must be clear that these products do not have the property to prevent, treat or cure a disease, they are not medicines.
They simply supplement the diet, moreover, the labelling, presentation and advertising of food supplements may not include any claims that state or suggest that a balanced and varied diet does not provide adequate amounts of nutrients in general.
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