PREVENTION AND FOOD SUPPLEMENTS: INTAKE AND FUNCTIONS
The world of food supplements is constantly expanding. The offer is endless and moving towards the right one is a titanic undertaking, especially due to the continuous and often unsolicited bombardment of advertising for products that seem to be miraculous. By surfing the net, we can collect a lot of useful information but we must be on our guard, as the internet is a medium where there is not always adequate control, even about such an important issue as that of health.
The first thing to do is therefore to check that the source from which we are drawing news or which is proposing us to use some food supplement, is credible and therefore has the necessary requirements to speak with authority (academic qualifications, bibliographical references, clinical studies, etc.).
The second step is to ask why we want to take a supplement, which one is best suited to our needs and how to get the results we are taking it for. These are simple questions but the answers are not at all simple, as they require specific skills, which only a health professional can have, and to which it is always advisable to refer.
The definition given by the WHO of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not simply the absence of disease dates back to 1948 but is incredibly current. The man of the third millennium, in order to be healthy, must therefore have the ability to adapt to stresses of a different nature, such as stress, pollution, atmospheric factors, drug abuse, nutritionally poor food, etc.
This is where food supplements come into play, which can be a great opportunity to maintain or even restore our health if we know how to use them.
Let us take into consideration the case of vitamin D, of which the deficiency now seems to affect 7 out of 10 people. If we consider this data from an evolutionary point of view we should not be surprised, in fact, we have gone from spending a lot of time outdoors, getting a good dose of sunshine, and therefore also our dose of the precious vitamin, to being inside an office for most of the time, even in summer. It thus becomes appropriate to integrate cholecalciferol, precursor of the active form of vitamin D, from October to May, or even all year round if we are never exposed to the sun.
The same goes for many other fundamental molecules, such as vitamins, antioxidants or mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The food that arrives on our tables is rarely sun-ripened, harvested and eaten, and as a result will be nutritionally poor. In this case too, a quality supplement can be the answer to our needs.
But be careful, do not be under the illusion that a tablet, drug or supplement, whatever it is, can do the job for us.
A winning health strategy includes all the factors that characterise human life: a careful diet, which allows us to maintain a healthy weight, constant physical activity, adequate rest accompanied by a good restful sleep, stress management and, targeted quality integration.
Dr Roberta Picca, Pharmacist, with a Master’s Degree in nutrition biology.