Who is offering the right diet solutions to health seekers without truly compromising their health?
I am highly concerned about persons with chronic conditions and risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, morbid obesity and hyperlipidemia as they are a customer niche for the growing billion dollar dietary supplement business. In an effort to improve health Dietary supplements are increasingly consumed by children, adults and persons with chronic disease but may contain harmful medicine ingredients.
Dietary supplements are powders, pills and liquids containing vitamins,minerals,herbals and plant extracts intended to improve nutrition or achieve particular health goals.
Muscle gain, weight loss and sexual enhancing supplements are the most selling dietary supplements. The study published on 12th October, 2018 shows that 776 of the over counter supplements analysed from 2007 to 2016 had undeclared medicine components in unknown concentrations for example;
- Sexual enhancers were commonly found to contain medications for sexual dysfunction for which over use may lead to damage of blood vessels.
- Weight loss supplements contained sinbutramine a banned ingredient in drugs for its side effects on heart health and laxative effects.
- Muscle gain dietary supplements contained anabolic steriods.
Many individuals perceive dietary supplements as 100% healthy and may not have restrictions on dosage which increases intake of the unexpected medicine components. And let’s not forget the toxic effects of excessive intake of some nutrients like Vitamin A that can cause birth defects if taken in excess by pregnant women. Self prescribed supplements commonly plant extracts may reduce action of your prescribed medications for example the danger of taking large amounts of vitamin K (promotes clotting) while taking blood thinning medications.
We may not know which particular supplements on Ugandan market were found to have unauthorised ingredients but remember majority of supplements are imported.
Enhance your Nutrition with no worry;
Your decision to improve nutrient intake for health can be achieved with rich food sources. Supplements should only be considered a supplementation not the first source of nutrients. Dietitians design diet plans to promote micro-nutrient intake based on individual needs.
In the search for improved sexual function; choose high antioxidant and zinc rich foods like fruits, vegetables and red teas. For zinc choose nuts mainly groundnuts, pumpkin seeds, simsim or sesame seeds.
From my experience, Weight loss from dietary supplements does not last. Many individuals have purchased tens of different supplements and fail to attain healthy weight but benefit from consulting a Dietitian where they get the lasting fat loss without harming health. Always seek personalised weight management programs for better results. Low carbohydrate diets with focus on healthy eating behaviour change make many of my weight loss seeking clients smile without inclusion of diet pills.
Muscle gain supplements containing creatine have significant evidence on effectiveness and therefore one can look out for reputable brands however it is possible to achieve muscle mass on a high protein diet and right exercise.
If anyone is taking fiber supplements, throw them away and embrace natural with three servings of fiber rich foods like chia seeds, flax seeds high fruit and vegetable like bananas, avocados and greens. These foods can be eaten whole or incorporated into smoothies, raw salads, sauted greens and unseived juice blends and i certainly don’t know a tastier laxative when when paired with proper hydration and exercise.
Health proffesionals only recommend supplements when it is impossible for the individual to attain the required nutrients from food.
Writer: Regina Nantege – Dietitian