The Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Supplements in Nigeria

The Truth About Supplements in Nigeria

What if you could take one pill and suddenly have more energy, better skin, and a healthier heart? That’s the promise that beckons every time I walk by the supplements aisle at a pharmacy and local drugstore—filled with fish oil capsules, jugs of collagen powder, magnesium chews, and every letter of vitamin under the sun.

It’s tempting. So it’s no wonder that supplements are projected to balloon to a $200-billion global industry by 2025.

But I’ve always had a healthy dose of skepticism about how much any of these supplements can do and whether they’re worth the cost. These are some of the insights from our reporting on supplements—with the very important caveat that you should always consult your doctor first about health decisions.

1) Supplements aren’t strictly regulated.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements in the same way as it does food and drugs—meaning companies don’t need to submit products to NAFDAC for approval before putting them on the market.

This can lead to some misleading labels. Many supplements on the Nigerian market may not contain what they claim. In our reporting, we found that some supplements had inaccurate ingredient lists or undisclosed ingredients.

2) Not everyone should take them—even multivitamins.

I grew up thinking that taking a multivitamin a day was the epitome of health, but this isn’t true for everyone, you should consult a doctor before you start a daily multivitamin regimen.

There are a few reasons why. For one, multivitamins can interfere with certain drugs like antibiotics or blood thinners. Additionally, people with liver or kidney disease might not be able to efficiently clear the high levels of nutrients contained in a multivitamin. Finally, anyone can get too much of a good thing. (More on this in a bit.)

3) The body doesn’t break all vitamins down the same way.

But it’s not just your health factors to keep in mind. Some vitamins are also absorbed differently in the body—which can make a big difference in deciding whether to take them.

Experts warned in a story we published in November 2023 to be particularly careful with vitamins A and E because they are fat-soluble. This means that the body stores these nutrients in your liver and fatty tissues for future use rather than quickly breaking them down and metabolizing them as it does for other types of vitamins. Large doses of either one could harm you.

4) It’s possible to overdo it.

As I’ve been alluding to here, there is such a thing as vitamin toxicity—or consuming so much of these nutrients that they begin to harm rather than help you.

Take, vitamin A, for example: Exceeding the daily upper intake limit of 3,000 micrograms can ultimately cause issues like joint pain, liver damage, and birth defects. High doses of vitamin E can interfere with blood clotting, causing hemorrhages, among other issues. And an excess of vitamin D can cause nausea, muscle weakness, confusion, vomiting, and dehydration.

5) Food is the best way to get nutrients.

Many nutrients like collagen and vitamin C are already abundant in the foods that make up a typical diet—and eating whole, unprocessed foods, such as fiber-rich vegetables and fruit, is often a more efficient way to get the vitamins, minerals, and probiotics your body needs. Taking a probiotic or a probiotic supplement isn’t going to fix a bad diet.

Remember, your health is precious, and it’s always wise to approach supplementation with caution and informed decisions.

The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Nigeria

Nutritional supplements are support for the nutrients we should get from food. A balanced diet supplies the major nutrients and vitamins the body needs. However, the body might require supplements for various reasons. Fluctuations in diet due to work, illnesses that deplete the body’s nutrients, or a desire to see some bodily gains can necessitate nutritional supplements. How exactly do nutritional supplements help in these situations?

What are Nutritional Supplements?

Nutritional supplements are medications or products that improve an individual’s health and wellness. As the name implies, supplements are supplementary. They replenish your body where there is an imbalance or deficiency of a particular nutrient. They are usually taken during meals or at specific intervals to supplement your diet.

Why Do I need them?

You may need nutritional supplements for any of the following reasons:

  • If you find balancing your diet and nutrition challenging, dietary supplements can help provide the missing nutrients.
  • Your doctor can recommend some nutritional supplements to help fight nutrient deficiency in your body that might have caused a disease or illness.
  • If you constantly feel exhausted for one reason or another, nutritional supplements like vitamin B and other iron supplements can help you retain energy.
  • Aside from a healthy diet, supplements help with weight management, immune support, and joint health, helping you meet your health and fitness goals.
  • They improve skin hydration, maintain skin integrity, help retain moisture, and protect against environmental damage.

What are some common ones?
Nutritional supplements vary based on their origin, natural or synthetic. They can be taken as pills, powders, tablets, and liquids. Some supplements that improve your health and their benefits include:

  • Vitamin D: improves bone health and immune function.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid): decreases the risk of neural tube defects.
  • Calcium: strengthens your bones.
  • Probiotics: aid digestion and gut health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and boost brain function.
  • Multivitamins: increase nutrient intake.
  • Garlic supplements: lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Ginseng supplements: help lower blood sugar levels and control inflammatory diseases.
  • Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as collagen: help with healthy skin.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Nutritional Supplements

Supplements are beneficial but should not be taken in excess amounts. Supplements can interact with certain medicines in ways that might cause problems. They can also pose risks if you have certain health conditions. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children should stay away from specific supplements.

  • Overdose of fat-soluble vitamins can cause hypervitaminosis.
  • Vitamin K reacts with Warfarin and other blood thinners, reducing their efficacy.
  • Protein overdose can cause kidney and liver damage.
  • Performance-enhancing drugs may cause endocrine disorders.

Take the recommended dosages. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns or underlying medical conditions.


Understanding Dietary Supplements in Nigeria

Dietary supplements are any substances you take to improve your health or wellness. This includes vitamins, minerals, and herbs. The most common form is a pill or capsule. You can also get them in powders, drinks, and foods. These supplements aren’t meant to cure diseases or health conditions. An exception is if the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has approved it for a health claim.

Path to Improved Health

Vitamins and minerals are known as micronutrients. They help nourish your body and keep you healthy. You can get them by eating a variety of foods in your daily diet. This ensures that your body can absorb them properly.

You should try to eat a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and fish. If you don’t, you may not get all the micronutrients your body needs. Taking a multivitamin can help. There is no proof that they help reduce your risk of cancer or heart disease.

Hundreds of other supplements are available. They promise to treat a range of symptoms. However, evidence to support these claims often is missing. Some of the most popular herbs include:

  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Gingko biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Glucosamine
  • Kava
  • Melatonin
  • Phytoestrogens, such as black cohosh, dong quai, and soy
  • Probiotics
  • Saw palmetto
  • John’s wort

Talk to your doctor before you begin taking a dietary supplement. They can tell you the benefits and risks of each supplement. Make sure they know about anything you already take. This includes all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC). That’s because some drugs and supplements can react badly. Read the ingredient list on supplements to make sure you know what else is in them. Don’t take more than the recommended dosage on the label unless your doctor approves it. Just because a supplement is advertised as “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Summing it Up

Understanding supplements is crucial for maintaining good health, but it’s equally important to approach them with caution. Always consult your doctor before starting any supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are pregnant. Remember, supplements should complement a healthy diet, not replace it. By making informed decisions and being aware of potential risks, you can make the most of what supplements have to offer while safeguarding your well-being.

.Facebook | Instagram | LinkedlnYoutube Get Direction To Our Office

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button