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Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 35

How safe are nutritional supplements advised in gymnasiums?

Dietician, Member Secretary, Indian Dietetic Association, Mumbai Chapter, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication6-Dec-2018

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-1540.246992

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How to cite this article:
Sound R. How safe are nutritional supplements advised in gymnasiums?. J Renal Nutr Metab 2018;4:35

How to cite this URL:
Sound R. How safe are nutritional supplements advised in gymnasiums?. J Renal Nutr Metab [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Oct 3];4:35. Available from: http://www.jrnm.in/text.asp?2018/4/2/35/246992

Nutrient supplements are one of many strategies for improving nutrient intakes. According to the FSSAI 2015 guidelines, Health supplements are those that contain concentrated source of one or more nutrients, namely, amino acids, enzymes, minerals, proteins, vitamins, other dietary substances, plants or botanicals, prebiotics, probiotics and substances from animal origin or other similar substances with known and established nutritional or beneficial physiological effect, which are presented as such and are offered alone or in combination, but are not drugs. These health supplement are either in the form of capsules, tablets, pills, bars, sachets; jelly or gel, semi-solids, liquids and powders designed to be taken in measured unit quantities. Health supplements are meant to augment the normal diet of an individual. However, supplements are not used as a substitute for a varied diet. Among many applications, the supplements are widely used in special areas like sports and fitness. Majority of the products are designed or claimed to enhance exercise and athletic performance. Manufacturers and sellers promote these products, sometimes referred to as “ergogenic aids,” by claiming that they improve strength or endurance, increase exercise efficiency, achieve a performance goal more quickly, and increase tolerance for more intense training. Some people also use ergogenic aids to prepare the body for exercise, reduce the chance of injury during training, and enhance recovery from exercise.

The regulations for dietary supplements are not the same as those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The various ingredients that are present in the formulation may be recognized as “natural”, which does not always mean “safe”. Sometimes, an herbal supplement may contain compounds and that all of its ingredients may not be known. Some supplements containing herbs or extracts used in bodybuilding and weight loss have been linked to liver injury. Causes of liver toxicity appear to be due to insufficient regulatory authority, inaccurate product labeling, adulterants and inconsistent sourcing of ingredients. Interactions of some ingredients in supplements with other dietary supplements, nutrients, prescription or over-the-counter drugs are well documented. Apart from concerns related to product quality, the safety of dietary supplements depends largely on dose. High doses of some nutrients are more likely to pose problems than others, although there is disagreement about the levels at which problems arise. Some dietary supplements may interact with medications or pose risks if the consumer has any medical problems. Most dietary supplements are not even tested in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.

People who go to gymnasium are constantly encouraged to have supplements. Selective use in moderation give good results. Many of the products that are used by sports and fitness enthusiasts contain numerous ingredients in varied combinations and amounts. Among the more common ingredients are amino acids, protein, creatine, and caffeine. Creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and clinically effective form of creatine for use in nutritional supplements. It is as an ergogenic aid by athletes to increase high intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass. Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been reported to be safe in specific doses under supervision.

Moreover, since many supplements can contain ingredients that lack a history of safe use, their long-term health effects may be unknown. The advantages and disadvantages of dietary supplements as a strategy to improve dietary intakes therefore must be carefully considered. Collaborations among scientists in many countries are needed to drive supplement science forward.


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