- In evidence
- Food supplements
1) Always seek information before you buy a food supplement.
There are many resources both in bookshops and online. Check the information provided by manufacturers because it might be either partly true or false. Look for information from reliable sources, such as scientific publications or government agencies.
2) Ask your doctor or the pharmacist before taking a food supplement.
Even if they do not know all the products available on the market, they will certainly be able to suggest the best choice.
3) Plant-based preparations.
Always check the product label for the ingredients’ common name, botanical name and part of the plant used.
4) Corporate contact information.
Does the label provide the company’s contact information, if you have any questions about their products? Reliable manufacturers always provide contact information. If you need more information about the food supplement you are taking or plan on taking, contact the manufacturer. Ask about the corporate product manufacturing procedures and quality controls.
5) Misleading advertisements.
Do not purchase products that promise “miraculous cures”, “sensational discoveries” or “new discoveries”, such as those which claim beneficial effects without either providing warnings or defining side effects, or products that are based on a “secret method” or “secret ingredient”. These statements are often misleading, and the product might contain harmful substances, medicines or contaminants.
6) Reporting side effects.
Note down any side effects you might observe during the product intake period. If you develop a skin rash or present drowsiness, restlessness, anxiety, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation or intense migraine, stop taking the food supplement. Report every reaction to your doctor and complete the Suspected Adverse Reaction Reporting Form for Natural Products drawn up by the Italian National Health Institute (ISS) by visiting https://www.vigierbe.it/.
If you have planned surgery or medical treatment, including dental surgery, ask your doctor if, and even when, you should stop taking the food supplement. Some food supplements need about 2-3 weeks for complete clearance from the body, and some of them might cause serious problems either during or after surgery.
8) Pregnancy and breast-feeding.
In such cases only take the food supplements recommended by your doctor or the pharmacist because the long-term safety profile of many of them has not been defined as yet.
9) Taking medicines.
Do not replace any medicine prescribed by your doctor with self-prescribed remedies without first talking about it with your doctor.
10) Severe pathological conditions.
Do not take any non-prescription medications for cancer or other serious diseases. Regardless of the claims, if it is too good to be true, it is probably not true.
11) Caution notices.
Food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet, and must be used while following a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Do not take more than the recommended daily doses. Keep out of the reach of children under 3 years of age. Please follow any warning notices printed on the label. We recommend medical supervision for subjects of paediatric age, subjects aged over 65 years and subjects with any pathological condition. Generally, pregnant and breast-feeding women must not take food supplements unless it is absolutely necessary. Traditional or clinical use of substances listed on this website shall not be considered a medical prescription. Do not take in case of hypersensitivity to any one of the ingredients present in the formulae. Any variations in colour, taste and/or odour, in some products, are due to the presence of natural ingredients.
12) Illegal products.
Avoid products that claim they cure diseases that are unrelated among them. If a food supplement claims that it can diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases, with claims such as “cure cancer”, “stop cancer growth” or “cure multiple sclerosis”, the product is sold illegally as a medicine.
Please note that the use of the term “natural” in a herbal product and food supplement does not warranty safety. Poisonous plants, such as hemlock, for instance, are natural but not safe.
14) Long-standing experience.
Consider the name and reputation of the manufacturer or distributor. Companies that are well known in the nutraceutical sector and which have long-standing experience submit their products to strict quality controls because they have a reputation to defend.