Food supplements: the National Academy of Medicine is sounding the alarm!

Food supplements: the National Academy of Medicine is sounding the alarm!

For healthy people with a balanced diet and no documented deficiencies, dietary supplements are generally not necessary “: this is what the National Academy of Medicine evokes in its press release of July 27, 2022.

To be marketed, a food supplement is declared to the DGCCRF (Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention Department), which verifies the product’s compliance with the regulations and carries out checks as for other categories of foodstuffs. The National Academy of Medicine recommends informing patients of the importance of a supply via an authenticated circuit, in particular for fragile populations (elderly people, children, pregnant women). It calls for the mention on the packaging of the risk of serious incompatibility with certain drugs, the revision of the list of authorized plants, which dates from 2014, and the training of doctors on food supplements.

Why this alert?

Disorderly consumption of these products can be harmful to health. The National Academy of Medicine recalls that according to the regulations, ” food supplements (CA) are products intended to be taken in addition to food in order to compensate for the real or supposed insufficiency of daily intake (decree of 15/04/96). »

These food supplements are often confused with oral nutritional supplements (ONC) or with medicines, because of their presentation (capsules, tablets, etc.) and their sale in pharmacies.

The problem is accentuated by the fact that a substance can be defined as a drug or as a dietary supplement depending on its dose. Which, it must be admitted, can be disturbing both for the consumer and for the health professional.

The substances – vitamins, minerals, plants – authorized in food supplements as well as the maximum daily doses meet regulations.

Anything not mentioned in this list of authorized dietary supplements is prohibited. However, many ingredients of some of these food supplements are not mentioned in this list. The National Academy of Medicine points out, however, that the list of herbal food supplements published by the DGCCRF in 2014 poses a problem. In effect, ” it contains products with pharmacological and not physiological or nutritional properties ” and ” it sometimes does not provide sufficient data on the safety of use “.

What are the risks ?

In case of overdose, misuse, combination with medication, or with other food supplements, food supplements can cause adverse effects. Plant-based products, especially those sold on the internet, are not without risk, linked to the presence of heavy metals, microbes, mycotoxins, pesticides, illegal and dangerous substances introduced deliberately to give the consumer an impression of effectiveness. , which is particularly the case for certain slimming products and for athletes. There may also be confusion between some closely related plants (for example, some species of ginseng are dangerous).

The National Academy of Medicine therefore calls for the vigilance of consumers and health professionals and for the revision of the list of herbal food supplements.