The truth about food supplements





The food supplements industry in the UK totals £385 million a year: this is obviously big business and some food supplements manufacturers have been hyping the health benefits of some supplements. Food supplements include antioxidants, calcium, fish oil, vitamin C, digestive enzymes, folates. The European Food Safety Authority has been investigating this and has rejected thousands of non-validated and non-supported claims.


Government guidelines suggest that only a few categories of people should take supplements namely pregnant women, children and the elderly. Adults can simply rely on healthy eating to get all the nutrients they need.


Are health supplements just an insurance policy for adults? Do people take supplements to prevent illness? More importantly, are these supplements prescribed by a doctor?


Incorrect use of supplements comes with health risks as vitamin overdoses can be as damaging as vitamin deficiencies.


The best strategy is to have a healthy diet comprising all food groups, fats included (remember what we discussed in our healthy fats article “Death of the low-fat diet”) especially because some vitamins can only be absorbed in our bodies when combined with fats (eg vitamin A).


If you need advice on healthy eating we are happy to help.