Health & Fitness Lifestyle

Integrators are booming. But do they really serve?

65% of Italians have used them in the last year. The researchers analyzed the four best sellers of the summer: mineral salt supplements, those for sun exposure, lactic ferments for those who travel long distances and products to relieve leg swelling.

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, resorted to food supplements (Federsalus data): the market for these products is constantly growing, and the rising trend of 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 sun exposure, lactic ferments for those who travel long distances and products to alleviate leg swelling. They were analyzed, 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, even swollen and heavy leg products have weak evidence of effectiveness and potential undesirable effects that should not be underestimated».

Possible side effects

Researchers are keen to point out that they do not have “a preconceived position against supplements”, which “can be useful in case of proven deficiencies, they 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, they cannot boast therapeutic properties”, explains Franca Braga, head of nutrition and health “The market success they are going through 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 “.

Consider the recent case of 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. To demonstrate that in a small percentage of predisposed subjects, supplements can cause adverse reactions, it is always better to hear the doctor’s opinion before taking.

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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