The Essentials To Know About Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements should be taken with moderation and caution. They can make up for nutritional deficiencies. They also have a preventive interest in certain diseases. Their use is, however, conditioned and limited in time.

What Is a Food Supplement?

France and Europe have given the precise definition of a food supplement. It is a foodstuff to be consumed to:

  • supplement the regular diet.
  • make up for deficiencies or deficiencies in the body.
  • eliminate or alleviate discomfort and daily discomfort.
  • prevent certain diseases.
  • maintain in good shape…

Thanks to its nutritional and physiological effect, a food supplement contributes to well-being and meets a specific need related to sleep, digestion, slimming, etc. The nutrient intake notably favors this. The products are available in several forms: drinkable solutions, pastilles, tablets, herbal teas, powders, capsules, ampoules, and others. Their mode of absorption is by physiological dosage.

It is also essential to know that a food supplement does not cure. It is simply used to prevent a disease or to fight a deficiency. To do this, it is essentially made up of a single nutrient or a single substance, such as

  • omega-3 to prevent cardiovascular disease;
  • calcium supplements that contribute to mental health and relieve fatigue;
  • potassium supplements to control high blood pressure.
  • The combination of several substances can serve an overall purpose, such as strengthening the immune system, weight loss, and many others.

What Are the Components of a Food Supplement?

To know the effects sought by taking a food supplement, it is essential to check each of its components. This step also helps to avoid overdosing or contraindication. In general, these components can be grouped into 8 categories:

  • enzymes ;
  • minerals and trace elements;
  • fibers, including prebiotics and probiotics
  • antioxidants ;
  • plants and mushrooms;
  • amino acids, essential fatty acids, and proteins;


These substances contribute to the proper functioning of the body. Besides vitamin D, our body cannot synthesize other vitamins. These are therefore provided by food. Their deficiency can lead to biological disturbances in the long term. This is why it is essential to take a vitamin-rich food supplement.

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These are substances naturally present in cereals, fruits and vegetables and others. Flavonoids help protect the body against pollution and the ingestion of toxic substances. They also serve to fight against free radicals, a factor accelerating the aging of cells and tissues. They are grouped into 4 families: flavones, anthocyanins, catechins, and flavonones.


Unlike the other dietary supplement components, excipients are just used to achieve the desired consistency and to assign other physical and taste characteristics to the final product.

What Are the Basic Rules for Taking Dietary Supplements?

Taking a dietary supplement is always recommended by a health professional (doctor or pharmacist). This is also directed by an instruction leaflet or instructions for use. Failure to follow the prescribed dosages can cause adverse health effects. If you are undergoing treatment, avoid substituting food supplements with your medication. Also, try to vary and balance your diet.

The concentration of active ingredients determines the quality and effectiveness of the product. They are compulsorily displayed on the product labels, either for a defined dose or totality. These labels must comply with French legislation and contain all the information you need: the origin of manufacture, dosage, composition, precautions for use, galenic form, the concentration of active ingredients, mode of absorption, etc. Beware of false promises concerning :

  • the effectiveness or benefits of certain substances (“cure-all”) ;
  • their relatively high cost;
  • their origin: exotic countries…
  • Also, make sure that the concentration of active ingredients indicated limits the side effects.

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