Integrators are booming. But do they really serve? – Italian Cuisine


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High temperatures cause a feeling of exhaustion and with the arrival of heat the legs and ankles tend to swell. Travel can also negatively affect the functionality of the intestine. To solve these seasonal annoyances, as many as 65% of Italians, in the last year, have resorted to food supplements (Federsalus data): the market for these products is constantly growing, and the rising trend strengthens during the summer. Especially from June to the end of September, a wide range of supplements is offered on the shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets, which promise to offer valuable help.

The best sellers in the summer

The four best sellers of the summer are mineral salt supplements, those for exposure to the sun, lactic ferments for those who travel long distances and products to relieve leg swelling. Altroconsumo he analyzed them, but the results are not so promising. "The examination of the existing studies showed that mineral salt supplements should reduce the sense of exhaustion, but there are not enough data to prove it; tanning supplements promise protection from UV rays and a homogeneous and long-lasting color, but the supporting studies supported by the manufacturers have many limitations, "writes the association. And, again: "The lactic ferments proposed to those who travel to prevent or treat unpleasant intestinal disorders, do not actually have sufficient evidence to recommend its use. Finally also the products for swollen and heavy legs have weak evidence of effectiveness and potential side effects that should not be underestimated ".

Possible side effects

Altroconsumo wishes to point out that it does not have "a preconceived position against supplements", which "can be useful in the event of proven deficiencies, can be useful in particular situations". But he wants to warn the consumer because he could spend his money unnecessarily: «Supplements are food and not drugs, cannot boast therapeutic properties ", explains Franca Braga, head of nutrition and health for Altroconsumo. «The market success they are experiencing goes far beyond scientific evidence. These products must not prove their efficacy and safety on the basis of sound studies before being placed on the market. And let us always remember that not everything that is natural is automatically safe ".

Think of the recent case of gods turmeric products: 21 people who had consumed them were affected by acute cholestatic hepatitis. The Health Ministry, after health investigations, established that hepatitis was caused by contaminants or substances added to these products, but also by three factors: particular conditions of individual susceptibility, alterations of hepato-biliary function or interaction with drugs. Proving that in a small percentage of predisposed subjects, supplements can cause diseases adverse reactions, it is always better to hear the doctor's opinion before taking it.

The advice is to focus instead on what you eat: add a glass of water, a banana for potassium, a piece of grit and some almonds is enough to have an extra dose of magnesium.

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