The growing interest in dietary supplements results from the fact that in recent years the trends associated with a healthy lifestyle, greater awareness of disease prevention, as well as increasing attention to external appearance have intensified.
Dangers of supplementation
The greatest danger associated with the use of dietary supplements is the risk of overdose and the appearance of side effects. This is particularly dangerous because the symptoms, if the dose is not too high, appear with a considerable delay (several months or even several years). In addition, many symptoms are difficult to associate with the use of the preparation, eg headache or gastrointestinal disorder. The appearance of symptoms and their severity depend on the dose, as well as factors such as age, weight, health or individual predispositions. For example, something that does not hurt an adult can greatly harm a small child. The more sensitive and ill people, compared to the less sensitive and healthy ones, are more exposed to the side effects of overdoses of various substances.
Another danger related to supplementation is the disturbed proportions between the individual components, which significantly affects, among others, on their bioavailability, i.e. the possibility of use by the body. Too much of a certain component may adversely affect the absorption of another, eg calcium-iron dependence.
Other dangers associated with improper supplementation are the interactions of nutrients with drugs, as well as falsification of the results of medical examinations. An example of the first may be the effect of oral contraceptives on the woman’s mineral metabolism. As an example of the latter, a “false positive” result can be given for the presence of blood in the stool, resulting from the consumption of excessive amounts of iron in the form of a pharmaceutical preparation.
Errors in the use of supplements
One of the most common mistakes is the use of single or multi-ingredient supplements with anecdotal dietary deficiency. In addition, in many cases, the form and dose of the supplement are incorrectly selected. Scientific research confirms that sometimes doses of supplemented ingredients exceed the recommended amounts many times.
Another thing is the duration of supplementation. With certain deficiencies of certain components in the usual diet, the supply of the supplement should continue until appropriate changes in the way of nutrition and compensated deficiencies are introduced. A completely different situation occurs in cases when supplementation concerns chronic diseases, pregnant women or nursing mothers.