Supplementary Foods

“Exact solution”, “100% natural”, “Treats”, Stops smoking”, Attenuates”, “Accelerates metabolism” etc. with supplements with titles (!) we meet every day on television or on the Internet frequently. We often hear from our environment: “I use this to feel fit, I use this to strengthen my immunity…” And we immediately ask ourselves if I should use it too. Sometimes we even go directly to the transfer or pharmacy to buy it. Thanks to various advertisements and other marketing methods that are attracting attention at the moment, supplements are used by a wide audience for various purposes. These purposes are to feel fit, strengthen memory, strengthen immunity and resist diseases, skin health, delay aging, etc. cosmetic purposes and curing a certain disease. But do they really provide these effects? Can you use the reinforcement you learned from your neighbor or friend? Do supplements provide a beautiful, colorful life as advertised? Is it natural or is all natural food safe? And many more questions… In this article, we will learn to look at supplements from the right angle. First of all, let’s start with the definition, what is this supplement/foods?

What does food supplement mean? What are supplements?

Its meaning is actually understood from its name. Reinforcement; means reinforcement, auxiliary force, support. Supplements are also products containing nutrients and botanicals (plants, algae, fungi) used to support normal nutrition. In a broader definition, supplements are defined as “To reinforce normal nutrition; Capsules, tablets, lozenges of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, fatty acids, amino acids, or of plant, vegetable and animal origin substances, bioactive substances and similar substances that have nutritional or physiological effects, alone or in their mixtures, concentrates or extracts , single-use powder package, liquid ampoule, dropper bottle and other similar liquid or powder products prepared in the form of daily intake is expressed as “products”.

Fruit, vegetables, plants, microorganisms and raw materials of animal origin are used in supplements. It is effective in choosing them as raw materials that they contain compounds (antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fiber, fatty acids, enzymes, amino acids, etc.) that are beneficial for human health.

Supplements come in such a wide range, let’s take a look at the common supplements that are prominent:

  • Vitamins:Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), Folic acid (B9) ), vitamin B12

  • Minerals:Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, …

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate

  • Coenzyme Q10

  • Herbal Products: Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, Garlic, Gingko, Echinacea, …

  • probiotics

  • Prebiotics

  • amino acids

  • protein supplements

  • Phytochemicals that can be taken to increase the body’s energy metabolism and immunity: quercetin, enzymes, beta glucan, resveratrol…


Who can use food supplements?

Before I say who can use supplements, I would like to point out that;

A daily balanced and adequate diet meets all the nutrients a person needs. With the effect of advertisements, people think that they cannot meet their needs without supplements. Supplements are considered harmless, as they are generally prepared using plant or animal sources. In addition, for some people, their primary preference is supplementary food, since their use is more practical than meeting them naturally. However, this approach is not correct. Food supplements do not replace a balanced and adequate diet. In addition, the bioavailability of the nutrient taken with supplements may not be as high as those taken with food, depending on the active substance used. Supplements are not suitable for everyone. It should be used with the approval of the doctor / dietitian.

In some special cases and nutritionally risky people, their needs may not be met with normal nutrition and these people may need to use supplementary food. For example, the elderly, dark-skinned people, and those who do not benefit from sunlight sufficiently may not be able to meet their vitamin D needs naturally. Those who are pregnant or considering a planned pregnancy need nutritional supplements such as folic acid, which is important during this special period. In addition, vegan diets or those with allergies can use supplements for nutrients that they cannot meet with food.

“In general, adults who have adequate and balanced nutrition do not need vitamin and mineral supplements. However, individuals with some special conditions, even if they are healthy, may need to use nutritional supplements in the following situations. (Tek and Pekcan, 2008- page:18):

  • Those who consume a low-energy diet,

  • Those who cannot provide adequate and balanced nutrition (for psychological or economic reasons),

  • Vegetarians (especially vegans who do not consume any animal foods),

  • Those with iron deficiency anemia

  • Infant (prevention of vitamin D deficiency) and children,

  • Pregnant and lactating women (Iron, folate, vitamin B12, etc.)

  • Women with excessive bone loss after menopause,

  • seniors,

  • Those who use drugs for a long time (antacids, antibiotics, laxatives, diuretics),

  • Those with allergic diseases that prevent food intake,

  • Those who receive nutrition therapy due to a disease,

  • Patients undergoing dialysis treatment, etc.”

What should be considered before taking supplements?

The purpose of use of supplements, the age of the person, the condition of the supplement in the body, the diseases of the individual, the drugs used, etc. The product and dose to be used vary depending on the circumstances. For this reason, before starting any supplement, a doctor or dietitian should be consulted about whether it is suitable and, if appropriate, the product and dose to be used. Random supplementation should not be started unless doctors recommend it.

There are two important points about supplements:

  1. Reliability: Supplements must be FAO or WHO approved. In the absence of this institution’s standards, national regulations should be consulted. In our country, products are allowed to be sold with the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

  2. Bioavailability: It should also be checked how much the active substance in the supplement can be used in the body.

What You Need to Know About Supplements

  • They cannot replace natural nutrition.

  • They cannot be used as a substitute for medicine. Supplementary foods do not cure, cure or prevent diseases. It can help reduce the symptoms of the disease and slow its progression.

  • Don’t let the fact that supplements are not considered drugs make you mistake that they are completely natural. Additives can also be found in supplements. In addition, every natural food is safe and there is no such thing as usable. Supplements can cause side effects just like medications.

  • Supplementary foods should be used in appropriate doses. Too much supplements can be toxic.

  • If medication is used, a doctor should be consulted before using supplements. Supplements can interact with the drug, reducing or increasing the effectiveness of the drug, causing various problems. In addition, side effects may occur as a result of this interaction.

  • In addition, pregnant and lactating individuals should consult a doctor before using supplements.

  • Supplementary foods are recommended for short-term use when adequate nutrition cannot be provided or deficiencies occur in the body.

For what purpose are supplements shouldn’t it be used?

In order to support meeting the daily nutritional needs, the products produced in the enterprises registered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and allowed to be imported. “supplementary food”products of the nature; weight loss, weight gain, height increase, sexual performance increase, smoking cessation, disease prevention, therapeutic and curative It is against the law to present them for sale by showing them as products. Products sold with such claims should not be consumed in order to meet such expectations.

Should nutritional supplements be used during the Covid-19 process?

This pandemic period we are in has reminded us of the importance of healthy eating and keeping immunity strong. There is no food that will protect against coronavirus alone, but it is known that a healthy and adequate diet can help by strengthening the immune system. In order for the body to be healthy and the immune system to be strong, macro (carbohydrate, protein, fat), micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients must be taken into the body in sufficient quantities. In order to achieve this sufficiency, our first choice in this process should be an adequate and balanced diet. Consumption of adequate amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-protein foods (fish, chicken, red meat, legumes, eggs,…) and milk and dairy products (yogurt, ayran, kefir, cheese, …) on a daily basis, use of olive oil and adequate Water consumption is the golden rule of healthy eating.

During the pandemic period, consumption of vegetables and fruits should be prioritized to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals. Adequate protein intake is required every day in order for antibodies, which are important defense mechanisms of the body, to fulfill their duties against viruses and bacteria that cause diseases. In addition to these, beneficial microorganisms found in products such as probiotic-fortified yogurt and kefir may also support the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin C (pepper, citrus, kiwi, parsley, spinach…), foods rich in vitamin E such as olive oil, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, fish (omega 3), oats (beta glucan), garlic, green tea, ginger, avocado, Consuming foods rich in zinc such as meat, liver, seafood, pumpkin seeds also supports your immune system. Getting enough sleep and rest is also important for a strong immune system. Because this is when the body is most repaired. In addition, avoiding sugary foods, pastries, smoking and alcohol strengthens your immune system.

I explained how the diet of the pandemic period should be. People who cannot or are not fed in this way can use vitamin and mineral supplements during this difficult process, but I think it is worth saying again, the first way to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals should be a healthy diet. In this process, it may be necessary to supplement the immune system with minerals such as vitamin C and zinc. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency, which plays a critical role in the immune system, has a higher risk of catching coronavirus and therefore death, and that people with insufficient vitamin D survive the disease more severely. People with vitamin D deficiency should take supplements with the approval of a doctor, especially in these winter months.

Nutritional supplements can be used during the Covid-19 process, but as I have always stated above, it is absolutely doctor’s approval should be used with We should not use self-reinforcement. For this, an analysis should be made first, and if there is a lack of vitamins or minerals, the product and dose approved by the doctor should be used. Because excessive intake of vitamins and minerals can have a toxic effect. It can also interact with some medications, resulting in negative consequences.

To make a brief summary about supplements; Food supplements are products that do not aim to treat or prevent diseases, are used to support normal nutrition, and are useful when taken in the right dose and correctly, with the recommendation of the right person (doctor/dietitian).

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