Indeed, in the United States more than 75% of adults would take dietary supplements, according to a survey conducted by The Council of Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
The expression even dietary supplements suggests a relative harmlessness of these products and that everyone can a priori consume them without risk. They are also on sale in several countries and accessible to all very easily.
Yet part of the medical literature has studied their physiological effects and has highlighted their potentially harmful impact on the functioning of the body. While other research, have simply not been able to clearly demonstrate the beneficial effects of a large majority of these supplements.
What is it really then? Is there a real interest in consuming them or are they dangerous?
So dietary supplements: yes or no?
This is a question that is not easy to answer. Because everything depends on the complement and dosage. What is certain is that there is an important work of conscientization to do with the public. Dietary supplements are not to be taken lightly, as taking some of them has been linked to increased cancer risk while others may increase the incidence of kidney stones (especially vitamin C in case of prolonged intake). Multivitamins for example, would be avoided according to several expert researchers. Indeed, a studyconducted in 2011, among 39,000 women over 25 years, those who took multivitamins have a higher risk of mortality than those who have not taken. In fact, in recent years, the results of several epidemiological studies and long-term clinical studies on the effect of multivitamins have been published. These are not generally conclusive.
On the other hand, what we also know with certainty is that dietary supplements can not replace the consumption of nutritious foods. The literature shows that vitamins and minerals consumed as supplements are not absorbed as efficiently as those that come naturally from the diet.
In general, supplements are not necessary since they do not bring any benefit to an individual with good eating habits. However, the exceptions to this finding of uselessness, populations whose needs are higher than normal and can not be offset by an increase in diet, for example: adolescents, pregnant women, vegans or vegetarians, without forget very old people (often malnourished or for various reasons, lack of financial means, by loneliness or lack of energy, do not feed properly). Yes, this is already quite a lot of people, but these groups of people should not take any dietary supplements without consulting a health professional.
Caution is therefore required, because with exception or special conditions, nothing beats a healthy overall lifestyle with a balanced diet and daily physical activity.