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Dietary supplements are intended to supplement the diet. They come in different forms, including capsules, liquids, and powders. They are not drugs and, therefore, not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. Dietary supplements don’t undergo the same kind of strict review for safety and effectiveness which drugs undergo before they’re sold.
They could cause undesirable interactions with prescription and non-prescription drugs alike. Adults in Nigeria take one or more of these supplements every day or occasionally. Today’s dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products.

Their marketers have a field day despite an abundant food supply in Nigeria. Misleading claims However, countless supplements on the market have been found to be tainted with drugs and other chemicals, nevertheless, claimants of unverified and “unorthodox” cures are having a field day promoting them.

Currently in Nigeria, there is a food supplement called Glucof…(name not complete), which its marketers claim could cure diabetes. The price of the supplement is between N50,000 to N60,000. Diabetic patients who buy the product are expected to take it for thirty days after which they become free of the ailment. Marketers of the supplement, who use mostly the internet to court their prospective customers in one of the pamphlets promoting it stated that,.

A testimonial from one diabetic patient simply signed Omotoyosi, with no further details read: “I sent in my testimony three months ago about the efficacy of GLUCOF… I finished the 30 days therapy ending of November 2015. I have monitored my sugar level daily since that time and I am happy to let you know that I am now diabetes free. My FBS (fasting blood sugar) has been stable at 4.1mmol since November. Thank you so much for making these Supplements available”.

Legally, supplements cannot and should not be promoted for the treatment of any disease condition because even if proven to be safe are not proven to be effective.

Any supplement or product claiming that you can eat all you want and still lose weight effortlessly is obviously spurious and should be avoided. The best way to lose weight and keep it off, is to eat fewer calories and increase your activity.

The term “natural” doesn’t always mean safe. A supplement’s safety depends on many things, such as its chemical composition, how it works in the body, how it is prepared, and the dose used. Careless use can harm the liver.

Unlike drugs, which must be approved by a regulatory agency such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, before they can be marketed, dietary supplements do not require pre-market review or approval. While the supplement company is responsible for having evidence that their products are safe and the label claims are truthful and not misleading, they do not have to provide evidence to the regulator before marketing the product. Dietary supplement labels may carry certain types of health-related claims. Manufacturers are permitted to say, for example, that a dietary supplement addresses a nutrient deficiency, supports health, or is linked to a particular body function (like immunity or heart health). However, such a claim must be followed by the words like: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA or NAFDAC” or, “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Bottom line: It is better to eat healthy food than depend on food supplements.


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