Food supplements

Food, the essence of life. The things one consume to provide nutrients to an organism is food. Usually, of plant or animal origin, it gives all the requirements of the body. The food ingested is assimilated by the organism's cells to maintain life. Maintaining a diet well balanced in essential nutrients is essential for good health. Sometimes, the food that we consume lag behind in this aspect. This very need led to the development of dietary supplements. They are also called food supplements. Their goal is to deliver nutrients that are not present enough. These supplements may be manufactured in the form of a pill, capsule, tablet or liquid.
Food supplements
Food supplements

What is Food supplements?

Food supplements extract nutrients from food sources to increase our quantity of consumption. These supplements may include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fibre, and fatty acids. They also contain plant pigments or polyphenols, that have a beneficial biological effect. Animals are also a source of ingredients for a supplement. Examples include collagen from chicken or fish. The ingredients for supplements may also be separately sold or in combined form. In most countries, supplements are considered as a subset of foods and are regulated as such. There are strict rules to help ensure the safety of food supplements.

Food supplements are available in different ranges and combinations. It's important only to take a certain amount of each ingredient. High doses of some substances may have adverse effects on the body. Thus, supplements are to be legally sold with an appropriate daily dose recommendation. Also, there should be a warning label to tell the consumer not to exceed the required dose.

Visiting a nearby health food store can be quite overwhelming. It becomes difficult to choose which dietary supplement to buy from the shelf. There are a thousand options to choose from. Some may even make you wonder if you also need supplements in the first place. However, it's a fact that a majority of adults do indeed take one or more supplements occasionally. The popular ones include vitamins, herbals, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and many others. Popular among vitamins are vitamin D, and E. Calcium and iron are popular among metals. Herbs like garlic and echinacea are also popular. Probiotics and fish oils are also gaining demand in today's market. Nowadays, supplements are also sold as drinks and energy bars.

In Country, the nutraceutical market is dominated by big pharma companies. Only a few companies exist that focus on supplements and other dietary products. However, urbanization has created the need for health supplements in the Country market. The supplement market is showing a continuous growth trend in Country. Nutrition care is undergoing a radical transformation in Country. Due to the growing population, food alone is unable to provide nutrition for all. Complementing food with supplements has become critical. Gyms and health centres contribute to a significant part of supplement sales. Thus, many investors have promised capital in the Country supplement market. It is expected to get more prominent in the coming years as Country crosses 1 billion population.
Why there is demand for dietary supplements?

Why there is demand for dietary supplements?

In ideal conditions, intake of nutrients through food should be enough. However, in the absence of required nutrients through diet, consumption of supplements becomes imperative. The main reasons for the increased demand for dietary supplements are below-
  1. Status of malnutrition in Country has grown. There have also been countless reports of micro-nutrient deficiency. It leads to an increased demand for supplements.
  2. These supplements are more affordable as compared to medications. People are being driven to supplements due to increased prices of medicals.
  3. Changing the lifestyle of the working population has also increased the demand for supplements. This group of individuals has also changed their diet patterns. Moreover, there has been an increase in disposable income. All of these factors have led to higher demand for supplements.
  4. Increased awareness about nutrition and access to information is another reason. In the 21st century, with everyone having a smartphone in their hands, it's easier to spread info.

Apart from these, there have also been some supply-side drivers responsible. These supply-side drivers include the following-
  1. The strategic location of the country.
  2. Transformation of the country into a global manufacturing hub.
  3. Low cost 
  4. Availability of required ingredients.
  5. Technically skilled capabilities of the country.
  6. The state can become a global hub for companies to set up R&D facilities.
  7. Evolution of e-commerce in the country
  8. Country's commitment to better infrastructure.

The organization known as the FSSAI regulates nutraceuticals in Country. FSSAI passed the FSS Regulations Act 2016. These regulations include eight categories of food-
  1. Special dietary foods.
  2. Nutraceuticals.
  3. Health Supplements
  4. Special medical purpose foods.
  5. Food added with probiotic ingredients.
  6. Diet combined with prebiotic ingredients.
  7. Novel foods.
  8. Speciality food is containing plant or botanical ingredients.
 Classified of Food supplements

Classified of Food supplements

Different countries have different legislation for health supplements and nutraceuticals. Globally, this term can be classified under three segments-
  1. Functional/ Fortified Foods: - Fortified flour, oil, malted powder, breakfast cereals, probiotic foods like yogurt. 
  2. Functional beverages: - Fortified juices, glucose powder, sports and energy drinks.
  3. Dietary supplements: - Vitamin and mineral supplements, tonics and macro-nutrients. Herbals extracts like Chyawanprash and non-herbal extracts like cod liver oil.

The companies and the products sold of health supplements are-

1. Functional/ Fortified Foods

The companies and their products under this segment sold in Country are-
  1. Kellogg- Kellogg's Cornflakes, Oats.
  2. Abbot- PediaSure
  3. Agro Tech Foods- Sundrop
  4. Britannia Industries- Cheese, Nutrichoice biscuits, Tiger Glucose biscuits.
  5. Cargill- Gemini, Sweekar.
  6. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare- Horlicks
  7. Nestlé- ActiPlus Dahi, CEREGROW, MILO, Baby & Me.
  8. Ruchi Soya Industries- Nutrela
  9. ITC- Sunfeast 
  10. National Dairy Development Board- Dhara 
  11. Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation- Amul
  12. Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable- Nutrifit 
  13. Yakult- Probiotics 
  14. Pepsi Co- Quaker Oats
  15. Patanjali- Choco Flakes, Corn Flakes, Oats, PowerVita.
  16. Heinz- Glucon D, Glucon C.
  17. Baggrys- Cornflakes, Oats.
  18. Mondelez- Bournvita Malt Drink 
  19. Mead Johnson- Enfagrow 
  20. General Mills- Natures Valley Granola Bars

2. Functional beverages: -

The Country companies and their products under this segment are-
(a) Amway- Nutrilite
(b) Aventis Pharma- Seacod Capsules
(c) Dabur- Dabur Glucose - D
(d) Danone- Protinex
(e) Novartis- Calcium Sandoz
(f) Herbalife International- Herbal life Protein Powder
(g) Himalaya Drug Company- Himalaya Pure Herbs
3. Dietary supplements: -
The Country companies producing nutritional supplements and their products are-
(a) Red Bull- Red Bull Energy Drink, Red Bull Sugar-Free.
(b) Coco-Cola- Minute maid juices.
(c) Pepsi Co- Gatorade, Fruit juices like Tropicana and Tropicana 100%.
(d) GlaxoSmithKline- Lucozade
(e) Goldwin Healthcare- Cloud 9 Energy Drink
(f) Hector Beverages- paper-boat thandai, chili guava.
(g) Patanjali- Aloe vera Fibre Juice
(h) Dabur- Fruit juices of Real and Real Activ Brands.
The effectiveness of Food supplements

The effectiveness of Food supplements

Supplements help when combined with a nutritious variety of foods. However, supplements can't replace the array of foods essential for a balanced diet. Scientific studies have shown that dietary supplements benefit from diet-related health conditions. For example-
  1. Vitamin D and calcium help keep bones healthy and reduce bone loss. Breastfeed infants also require vitamin D.
  2. Folic acid can decrease the risk of a variety of congenital disabilities.
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils help people suffering from heart diseases.
  4. Vitamin C and E act as antioxidants.
  5. Iron has been shown to help women during pregnancy.
  6. Vitamin B12 helps keep blood cells and nerve cells healthy.
  7. Glucosamine helps relieve joint pain.
  8. Echinacea improves immune health.
  9. Flaxseed oil helps relieve digestion related issues.

Quality of Supplements: -

Food supplements are indeed complex products. The FSSAI passes the regulations to ensure the quality of supplements. These regulations help identify purity, strength, and composition of supplements. The FSSAI prevents the possibility of contamination and improper packaging and labelling.

Types of Supplements: -

  1. 1. Multivitamins- These are rich in minerals and help cover dietary shortfalls.
  2. 2. Meal Replacements- These are useful for people who can't take regular food due to illness. Examples include powdered or liquid products.
  3. 3. Sports Nutrition Supplements- This broad category includes sports performance and weight loss supplements. It exists as pills, powder, formulas, and drinks. These are made to enhance physical activity and help you stay hydrated. Examples include creatine, amino acids, fat burners, and protein formulas.
  4. 4. Calcium- Calcium is beneficial for your bones. Examples include leafy veggies, soybeans, fish, raisins and dairy products.
  5. 5. B vitamins- These vitamins include thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B-6, and B-12.
  6. 6. Vitamin C- These vitamins help ward off colds. Examples include melons, peppers, peaches, broccoli, papayas, pineapples, grapefruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and oranges.
  7. 7. Glucosamine and Chondroitin- These supplements help relieve joint pain.
  8. 8. Fish oil- The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil helps reduce heart disease.
  9. 9. Vitamin D- Sources of vitamin D include cereals, tuna, and salmon.

Safety and Risks on Food supplements

A supplement labelled as "natural" doesn't guarantee that it's safe to consume. Supplements may contain active ingredients. These ingredients can have substantial effects on the body. Moreover, there is also the possibility of side effects with trying a new product. It's vital to know the chemical makeup of supplements and how they work in our body.
Moreover, there have been issues of adulteration of dietary supplements. There have also been cases of supplements being contaminated with heavy metals. It is, therefore recommended to be sure of what is in the product before buying.
Supplements may cause side effects or harm people when taken as prescription medicines. They may also cause harm when taken too many in combination. Studies have shown that some supplements increase the risk of bleeding. Some research suggests that supplements may also affect a person's response to anaesthesia. The herbs kava and comfrey may cause damage to the liver. Certain supplements may even react with prescription medicines to cause problems. Examples of this condition include-
  1. 1. Vitamin K may reduce the ability of blood thinner to prevent clotting of blood.
  2. 2. Antioxidant supplements reduce the effectiveness of a few types of cancer chemotherapy.
  3. 3. The supplement Ginkgo may increase blood thinning.
  4. 4. The herb St. John’s wort speeds up the breakdown of birth control pills and antidepressants.

It's important to note that ingredients of dietary supplements may also be present in foods like breakfast cereals. Due to this, a person may unknowingly be taking more elements than he/she needs. Taking more supplements is not necessarily good and may also raise the risks of side effects. Too much of vitamin A, for example, causes headaches and liver damage. It may also reduce bone strength and cause congenital disabilities. Also, too much iron causes nausea, vomiting, and damage to the liver.
It is essential to be cautious of dietary supplements during pregnancy or nursing. Also, special care needs to be taken before giving them to children. Most of these supplements are not well tested as safe in pregnant and nursing women or children. As such, the recommendation of supplements to them is not advisable. Always consult a licensed medical practitioner before taking any dietary supplement to be sure of the risks involved. If there have been any severe reactions to a supplement, let your doctor know immediately.
Consumers may over-consume dietary supplements. Going beyond the daily recommended amount of multivitamins is not beneficial. It could be very dangerous. Exceeding 100% of the recommended amount of vitamins or minerals lead to toxicity. Moreover, as supplements add up to the food we eat, exceeding the daily amount needs to be considered carefully. It's recommended to be careful of mineral and fat-soluble vitamins which may build up in the body.

Our special words on Food supplements

The overall message is to consult a dietician or doctor before choosing a supplement. It's advisable to follow a healthy balanced diet and combine it with a healthy dose of supplements. Be sure to read the label of these supplements carefully before buying. Also, refrain from taking multiple doses than the recommended daily amount. In case of any adverse reaction, consult a doctor immediately.

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