Nutritional Supplements. Not always without Risk!

Wherever you look – nutricosmetics. You find them everywhere, in pharmacies, drugstores, departmentstores and luxury beauty shops. Even in groceries the shelves are full of them. The big beauty companies as well as the smallest doctor brands have extended their lines with beauty pills and powders and drinks. But this „beauty from within“ is not always without risk.

Karen Grant, Global Beauty Industry Analyst of the NPD Group, provides a comprehensive view of the market. She says: „A huge turnover of 133 Billion US Dollar is made worldwide with beauty supplements.“ Even the Germans spended over two billion euros for food supplements in 2018 – upward tendency. Online has the lion’s share. For example, if you search on the luxury online platform net-a-porter for „food supplement“, you won’t get less than 94 products as an result. They all promise „beauty from within“. Who has never ordererd his magnesium or vitamin C online“? Or was tempted to click on „order now“ of an Instagram post, when there was advertised a “Glow Inner Beauty Powder“ or the „Ageless Beauty Vitamin“.

Pill instead of cream

According to studies, it is precisely the millennials in Europe and Asia, who choose more often a proactive approach. They turn away from traditionell skin care products, especially from antiaging creams. They prefer pills, shots and teas for their overall wellness. Prominent beauty women do their part. So Heidi Klum advertises a tablet „that makes my skin, hair and nails beautiful like never before“. Gwyneth Paltrow sells on her „Goop Wellness“ platform several sticks und gums for more energy, a clear mind and more glow for the skin. Her pill cocktail „The Mother Load“ is designed for women before, during and after pregnancy. However, this product has already come under fire from experts. According to WHO (World Health Organisation) pregnant women shouldn’t take food supplements containing vitamin A. It could harm the unborn child.

Doubtful benefits

If you look at the ingredients on the packaging, there is nothing wrong with most of them on the first sight. Often they contain physiological substances like collagen and hyaluronic acid. These are responsible in the body for the elasticity of the skin and the connective tissue. Their natural production is reduced in the body from the age of 20. In addition, there are usually found minerals, trace elements like zinc, several vitamins and antioxidants in these beauty pills.There are already jelly bears with hyaluronic acid and collagen available. Scientist however find it unlikely that orally ingested collagen passes the gastro-intestinal passage undamaged and finally actually reaches the skin cells. Scientific studies, to which manufacturers are happy to refer, are also less credible. As a rule, the company commissioned them itself or the test groups are so small that the result is not very representative. Researchers from Baltimore evaluated in a meta-analysis the data of nearly one million people from 277 individual studies. Vitamin A til D, calcium, folic acid, iron and fishoil were examined as a single substance and in combination preparations in terms of their health benefits. Their conclusion: Most of the nutrition supplements have no harmful effects, but few improve health, and if so, only for special target groups.

No overdose!

The bigger the promise on the packaging, the more careful one should be. Individual ingredients have certainly gone through a wide range of clinical studies and have been tried and tested. But what if they are combined in one product! There is probably no further proof of their effectiveness. If you take already a combination supplement, for example for hair, skin and nails, you shouldn’t add vitamins and minerals. Especially an overdose of vitamin B can lead to undesirable side effects. Too much folic acids (vitamin B9) during pregnancy for example can cause nervousity, sleep problems or gastrointestinal disorders. The nutritionist Daniela Graf from Max-Rubner-Institut, the German Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, warns of a too carefree consumption of nutrition supplements – no matter whether for healthy nutrition or beautiful skin. „Too much of the ingredients can lead to negative effects, especially if medication is being taken at the same time.“ She prefers fresh food instead of powder and pills. „Many proven effects of fruits and vegetables cannot be attributed to individual substances. Especially not on the vitamins or minerals it contains“, she explains.

Less is more

„Tighten your daily supplement routine“, recommends also the British lifestyle and nutrition expert Louise Parker. Many celebrities like actress Emma Thompson trust her. It was she who brought the Duchess of Cambridge after her first pregnancy quickly back into top form. Parker doubts that someone should take more than three supplements a day. „Trusted manufacturers list their ingredients, without making big promises. They trust the expertise of a doctor or nutritionist to find a suitable product after checking the individual lifestyle and blood tests.“ Therefore, before you shop all the promising pills, you should first check with your doctor or nutrition expert whether and what the body needs at all. My latest discovery, or better say my doctor’s recommendation after extensive check-ups, are sirt capsules.They contain vegetable substances which activate special enzymes in the body. They are called sirtuins. These are associated with cell regeneration and the human aging process. The metabolism and immune defense are optimized. I have to admit I feel good with it!

Foto: shutterstock@carlo dapino

German

beauty from within, beauty pills, health risk, Nutricosmetics, supplements

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