Building up associations

IADSA has been involved in establishing more than 15 of its associations over the past decade. We work with companies and authorities to build national associations in countries where one does not exist.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

What are food supplements?

Why do people take supplements?

What are the benefits of supplements? Is there proof that supplements work?

What are antioxidants?

Which categories or types are man-made and which are natural sources?

Is it safe to sell high-level food supplements?

What kind of quality control is applied to food supplements?


What are food supplements?

Food supplements include tablets, capsules, powders, liquids and a wide variety of other forms which are taken for their health-giving properties. They are composed of micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and a range of other substances such as amino acids, fatty acids, plants and extracts of plants.

There is no globally accepted term for dietary/food supplements and both terms are synonymous with each other. In the US, for example, dietary supplement is a legal term. In Europe, the more widely used term is food supplement. In much of Asia the term 'health supplement' is used.


Why do people take supplements?

Hundreds of millions of people around the world take supplements regularly for a range of different reasons, but the main one is to maintain good health. Many people take food supplements as a form of "health insurance", to ensure that they get an adequate intake of nutrients. With the growing body of scientific evidence that supports the potential benefits of taking higher levels of certain nutrients, people also take supplements to prevent the risk of certain illnesses and diseases.


What are the benefits of supplements? Is there proof that supplements work?

Many studies have already been carried out to establish the benefits of food supplements. Antioxidants, for example, may have a protective effect against free radicals in the body which cause damage to body cells. They may therefore be especially important in protecting against human diseases associated with free radical damage to cellular DNA, lipids and proteins. These diseases include cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease and cancer.

Folic acid is known to play an important role in the prevention of neural tube defects in unborn children. Women of childbearing age are strongly advised to supplement their diet with folic acid.

Post-menopausal women and the elderly are advised to supplement their diet with calcium and vitamin D to help to maintain the bone mass and thereby reduce the risk of osteoporosis.


What are antioxidants?

Certain vitamins are classed as antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally present in the body and are known to combat the damaging free radicals in our body. Antioxidants include the vitamins A, C, and E and the mineral selenium as well as a range of plant and other ingredients.

Antioxidants may have a protective effect against free radicals in the body, which damage body cells. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are created in the body as essential intermediates during normal cell metabolism. They may also be produced due to exposure to certain environmental pollutants. Increased production of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) is a feature of many human diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Antioxidants are also used in the food industry, for example, to protect food lipids against oxidative damage.


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