The increase in the consumption of food supplements (and their effectiveness) in the Covid-19 pandemic

Since the beginning of pandemic, there has been a major shift towards health and nutrition, and rightfully so. With stronger immunity and better health, it becomes easier to ward off a number of diseases and heal faster. While eating healthy fruits and vegetables is essential, many have also turned their attention to nutrition supplements to meet the nutritional needs of your body.

“In the grips of a devastating global pandemic, consumers have sought further protection from viral infections and diseases on the assumption that supplement products may offer health benefits o ‘immune enhancement‘effects when consumed,’ one study noted, Growth of the food supplements and nutraceuticals market during the coronavirus pandemic – Implications for consumers and regulatory scrutiny.

A recent survey by consultancy EY India also found that Indian consumers are now willing to spend more on fitness, health and nutrition with Covid-19 creating “the greatest seismic shift” bringing health and immunity to center stage.

Increase of the food supplement market in India

As a result of growing demand, numerous “made in India” dietary supplements ranging from tasty gummy candies and strips to powders, blends and you became popular in the country.

“The pandemic has certainly increased the consumption of supplements globally as people have begun to be more aware of keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe from various ailments and lifestyle diseases“said Rakshit Mehta, CEO of NanoVeda, a brand that combines nanotechnology and Ayurveda to create soluble dietary supplement strips. He shared that NanoVeda Immune Strips, Iron Strips, Sleep Strips, Ashwagandha and Curcumin Strips were some of the favorites during the pandemic. .

A similar upward trend was observed by CosMix, which manufactures supplements using blends of superfoods and adaptogens, both of which target particular problems. “People have become more aware of what’s good for them and their overall well-being. Health has been prioritized like never before, especially when it comes to the gut. Fortunately, we were already talking about its importance and we had the solution ready, “said Vibha Harish, founder of CosMix.

What are food supplements?

Before we delve into it, let’s understand more about what exactly dietary supplements are. According to Vidhi Dhingra, senior clinical dietician, vHealth by Aetna, dietary supplements are products “added to the diet when one is unable to meet the body’s needs. It usually contains one or more dietary ingredients that help meet the necessary recommended daily dietary needs. Essential dietary supplements include vitamins, mineralsproteins, fats, water and carbohydrates “.

Agrees Anagha PA, Clinical Dietitian, Manipal Hospital, “Some dietary supplements can generally be taken for general well-being. Some are used exclusively in therapeutic conditions where supplements include whey protein, hydrolyzed protein forms, rich in immunonutrients etc.

How Effective Are Food Supplements?

Experts believe that when consumed at the right time and in the right amount, supplements can help increase overall health and performance.

“They also help manage and prevent some Health conditions. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are effective for strengthening bones, folic acid supplements have been used successfully to reduce the risk of certain birth defects, fish oil is good for heart and brain health, protein supplements are known to build muscle and speed up recovery. C vitamin supplements boost immunity and were widely prescribed by doctors during the Covid-19 pandemic also, “explained Aman Puri, founder of Steadfast Nutrition.

However, it is important to note that supplements are not a substitute for a well-balanced nutritious meal. Only when the requirements are not met by our daily diet, should supplements be used to fill the deficiency. “It is important to include a variety of foods throughout the day food plan in a balanced wayDhingra said.

Who really needs it?

From age and weight to exercise levels and other body requirements – the required dosage of supplements varies from person to person, experts note. “Taking supplements has become a necessity for most people in this day and age of stress, scarcity of freshly produced foods, poor man diest, unhealthy lifestyles, low-calorie diets and consequent nutritional deficiencies, ”said Puri.

Emphasizing the need for supplements in women, she added: “Women in particular need supplements due to nutritional deficiencies caused as they go through different stages of their life such as menstruation, pregnancybreastfeeding and menopause “.

Additionally, older adults and those in the post-operative phase need such supplements to support their health and recovery. However, it is vital that you consult with an expert before starting any supplement to ensure the right dosage.

Seasonal herbal supplements

Anagha has listed some herbal supplements that are best consumed in summer, winter, and rainy seasons.

Summer – Oregano, parsley, chamomilebasil
Winter – Thyme, oregano, chives, mint and chamomile
monsoon – Tulsiginger, garlic, coriander and mulethi

“Thyme, parsley, basil, Origan if taken in limited quantities it can be consumed throughout the year “, added Dhingra.

With the start of the summer season, Puri shared simple and delicious ways to consume the goodness of some summer herbs. “You can enjoy mint in the summer in the form of lemon- like mojito, or mint raita to achieve the natural cooling effect of this herb. You can also make mint-infused water, refrigerate it, and consume it to cool off during summer dehydration. Another widely used herb is lemongrass consumed during the summers in the form of lemongrass iced tea which helps improve digestion and has a calming effect on the stomach.

Consume with caution

While dietary supplements are known to have many health benefits, as discussed, they need to be consumed with caution. “Overdose can have side effects and can be counterproductive to health. For example, if there is a vitamin B-6 deficiency and the patient consumes the supplement above the recommended dosage, it can cause nerve damage. Likewise, vitamin D supplements it should not be consumed with caffeinated drinks and iron-rich supplements as it can interfere with its absorption, ”Dhingra explained.

Also, “Avoid vitamin A supplements when you are pregnant (to avoid birth defects) and if you smoke (to avoid the possibility of cancer). Excess vitamin C and E can trigger tumor growth,” Puri said.

Anagha added that kidney supplements should only be consumed by kidney patients.

Keep these essential points in mind

If you’re planning on including some nutritional supplements in your daily diet, don’t miss out on these important tips, as suggested by nutrition experts.

  1. Not everyone needs supplements. Seek medical guidance before starting a regimen to determine if you really need extra nutrition. Even over-the-counter supplements shouldn’t be consumed without expert advice
  2. Make sure you fully understand the foods and medications that may interfere with the supplements you plan to take. Complete knowledge of the composition of the supplement and of the contrasting foods or drugs is essential.
  3. Supplements don’t make a person superhuman. You should be aware of the limitations of the body and not overdo it with rigorous exercise regimes.
  4. Using low-cost quality supplements can damage your organs in the long run. Use only high quality supplements for a better quality of life.

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