Dietary Supplements


To return to the use of vitamins and supplements, the data may vary but, in general, we can say that a lot of people take them and, overall, they are at the origin of a very high expense.

Who Uses Diet Supplements?
If we had to imagine the typical consumer would be a woman, with a medium-high level of education, who lives in a big city, who practices sports, makes regular use of wholemeal products and who claims to be suffering from a certain level of stress [2 ]. Her main goal is primarily to improve her health, and only secondarily to lose weight or supplement her diet. In the male population that uses dietary supplements, the main purpose is related to sporting activity and the need to improve performance. In short: from a marketing point of view, two profiles of ideal consumers …

Doctor, but do they really work?
It is a question that cannot be answered except by going briefly into the details. Routine use of nutrient supplementation is not recommended for the general population [4]. The use of supplements may be suggested to people at high risk because they suffer from specific medical conditions Diet Supplements, in particular passages of the life cycle, or are exposed to certain risk factors [4].

This is the case, for example, of folic acid, an essential supplement for the prevention of some congenital diseases, in particular those affecting the neural tube [5]. As recommended by the Italian Network for the Promotion of Folic Acid for the Primary Prevention of Congenital Defects, “a woman of childbearing age, who foresees or does not exclude pregnancy should, in fact, take an additional quantity of 0.4 mg / day, starting at least from 1 month before conception until the third month of pregnancy (periconceptional period).

It is important to remember that, in Italy, folic acid at this dosage is included in the list of fully reimbursable drugs (class A) Diet Supplements. Therefore, the prescription on a red prescription by the attending physician is sufficient to purchase this supplement by paying only the ticket provided by your region. ” Therefore, folic acid should not be taken “during pregnancy” but “when a pregnancy is thought to occur”. We therefore speak of preconceptional assumption [6].

Do children need Diet Supplements?
Children on a balanced diet do not need multivitamin or multimineral supplements and should avoid taking micronutrients in doses that can help exceed the recommended daily intake [4]. Sometimes, parents feel a bit of pressure regarding the possibility of supplementing their children’s diet and – as Mauro Destino (professor of food science) and Federico Marolla (family pediatrician) point out – “you never mind at the expense when it comes to buying vitamins and minerals for your child, with the belief that they do not hurt and that they are useful for growing up. (…) It takes 10-15 minutes of exposed arms and legs to the sun twice a week, in the central hours of the day in spring or summer, to safely produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D [7].