They are defined as a set of extremely uneven substances but which have some common characteristics: they are organic substances generally of low molecular weight; most of them are not produced by our the body; these nutrients, when taken regularly and according to a correct dose, exert a protective action for human health. Some have complementary and overlapping activity mechanisms.
The Ministry of Health replicate: they refer to “foodstuffs to be integrated within a standard diet which are concentrated sources of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect, in particular, by way of example only, amino acids, essential fatty acids, vegetable origin fibres and extract, alone or in combinations, available in pre-set doses”.
An accurate assessment of the subject by competent medical practitioners is needed so as to extricate and navigate the complicated world of supplements, using diagnostic tests to highlight the needs of those who for various reasons (age, pregnancy, periods of stress, vegetarian and low-calorie diets, genetic defects, etc.) require additional intake of certain nutrients.
It often happens, however, that those using them are not those who actually need such therapeutic treatment, but people who already have a perfectly correct diet and lifestyle.
Using a “lucky dip” concept when using the so-called multivitamins, is not always useful. In fact, excessive intake of some of these substances, can give rise to episodes of accumulation which can be harmful to the body.
The best way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of disease is, as always, to choose a varied diet.
Our diet brings us into contact with about 500 g of chemical compounds every single day, the majority of which are of vegetable origin. These are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and micronutrients, but also polyphenols, triterpenes, alkaloids (called “phytochemicals”) that have considerable effects on the organism. Some of these substances have such a strong action on the organism that they are defined as medication, others are even toxic. Many studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent the onset of many degenerative disorders, such as cardiovascular, metabolic, neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases.