Dietary supplements

Some essential concepts to know about dietary supplements

How to define supplements ?

These are nutrients whose purpose is to supplement a normal diet.
Dietary supplements are not intended as substitutes for regular foods, including those from fortified foods.
Dietary supplements are intended for people in good health.

Please note that dietary supplements are not medicines and as such cannot replace medical treatment. Dietary supplements have no therapeutic action.

What does a dietary supplement contain ?

A dietary supplement is a concentrated source of nutrients (vitamins or minerals) or other substances and plants with a nutritional or physiological effect alone or in combination.

The manufacture of food supplements is regulated at national and European level.

According to article 4 of Decree 2006-352 of March 20, 2006, dietary supplements may include :

  • nutrients vitamins and minerals
  • substances with nutritional or physiological purposes with the exception of those possessing exclusively pharmacological properties.
  • the same applies to plants and plant preparations.
  • other ingredients whose use in human nutrition is traditional and recognized.
  • additives, flavorings authorized for use in human food.

The dosage of these ingredients is also set by national schemes.

Are there any precautions for use?

Given their characteristics, dietary supplements are not innocuous products.

This is why it is important to pay attention to dosage and to follow the instructions for use (daily doses, people concerned...), particularly with regard to cumulative consumption and potential interactions with other products.

The advice of a healthcare professional is recommended for :

  • Pregnant and nursing women
  • Children and teenagers
  • People undergoing medical treatment

What may be the adverse effects

The Nutrivigilance scheme (steered by Anses) collects reports of adverse reactions linked to the consumption of certain products contained in food supplements.

This approach contributes to improving knowledge and consumer safety.

Food supplements are intended for people in good health.

Potentially serious effects have been observed for some people, mainly of a cardiovascular and psychological nature.
As a result, the use of food supplements is not recommended for people suffering from these pathologies or impaired renal or hepatic function or neuropsychiatric disorders, or for children, adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Furthermore, during sporting activity it is advisable to avoid caffeine-based dietary supplements, as well as the concomitant consumption of several supplements or their association with medicines.

It is recommended to seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Nutrilords stands by the recommendations of ANSES, namely :

  • Seeking advice from a healthcare professional
  • Respect conditions of use
  • Be vigilant about products presented as miraculous
  • Prefer products sold in the best-controlled circuits

Are dietary supplements useful for our health?

Taking a dietary supplement is justified to cover a nutritional need that the current diet does not or no longer provides.

Our lifestyles are becoming more and more demanding on the body.

Our nutritional needs are increasing due to our urban lifestyles, rebalancing is impossible with everyday foods which explains why dietary supplements are becoming a way of life.

All this means identifying our deficiencies.

The ANSES has established benchmarks that enables us to judge dietary balance.

But before consuming dietary supplements, the 1st question to ask yourself is : " do I really need it ?".
To find out, simply consult a health professional or nutritionist.
A check-up will help identify your deficiencies and find out the origin of these : a nutritional imbalance or a disordered lifestyle.

In other words, it's important to understand that consuming dietary supplements is not a trivial act, and that it's fundamental to insist on reasoned use with regard to consumers' real needs.

Sport and dietary supplements

Dietary supplements are an essential in the regular practice of sports.
In fact, through the efforts required, athletes demand much more from their bodies than the average person.
Energy requirements are much higher, and vitamin and mineral intakes must be adjusted accordingly.
In athletes macro and micronutrient requirements are increased, in addition to most of it getting also loosed through sweat which needs to be compensated for.

Therefore, we need to provide much more protein, carbohydrates, lipids and micronutrients necessary to replenish what the body has consumed during training & competing. Like this he/she performs and recovers well.

Dietary supplements in sport are essential for :

  • Optimizing mental health
  • Reduce cramping
  • Deep REM sleep
  • Better endurance
  • Amplify explosivity during exercise
  • Anticipate fatigue
  • Enable rapid recovery

Supplements are needed to maintain good energy levels, recover more effectively and provide tissues with the nutrients they need to regenerate after exertion.

Age and dietary supplements

Is there an age to take dietary supplements ?

This is a question often asked.

Or, it's not a problem of age but very often of unbalanced diet (children don't have a varied diet).

Nutrient deficiencies may be more prevalent in particular population groups with increased needs or intake deficits, such as pregnant women, children, the elderly...

In addition, certain dietary behaviors can lead to reduced or even eliminate consumption of foods that are sources of essential nutrients. For example, the vegan diet is totally devoid of vitamin B12, present only in foods of animal origin. Similarly, a diet that excludes the consumption of fish and seafood will not cover EPA and DHA (long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids) requirements.


More generally, an insufficiently varied diet exposes us to the risk of inadequate coverage of nutritional requirements. In these particular cases, the use of dietary supplements may be of interest. It is then strongly recommended to seek the advice of a health professional.

Children and adults alike need a certain amount of vitamins, trace elements and minerals to stay in shape. They need them all the more as their resources are mobilized for growth, daily stress is very much present and their immune systems are in full development. In addition, children's diets are often unbalanced, leading to deficiencies and fatigue.
Medically supervised dietary supplements can help overcome these deficiencies.

The same applies, to teenagers.
For example, a young woman with heavy periods loses iron, and if she eats little meat it's in her best interest to take an iron-based dietary supplement.

The same applies to pregnant women, who needs vitamin B9 folate/folic acid.

The more we advance in age, the more we encounter various problems such as joint discomfort, reduced energy, sleep disorders.

Of course, all this is linked to changes in nutritional behavior as well as to our lifestyles, which evolve over the years.

Also in order to keep our bodies functioning optimally it can be useful to consume age-appropriate vitamins, as part of a varied, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

The older we get, the more mobility our joints may need. This is due to the natural decline in collagen production with age.
To facilitate this we either take a collagen-based supplement or increase our daily vitamin C levels, thus enabling us to produce collagen but also limit oxidative stress and therefore cell aging.

Sleep is also a problem encountered with age, perhaps due to the stress of professional life. Deep (restorative) sleep phases shorten in which insomnia arises.
These problems arise due to a lack of melatonin, perhaps B6 and B12, which play a role in the nervous system and the reduction of fatigue.
Sleep is essential as it is restorative and helps slow down aging.
It is then advisable to supplement with magnesium, zinc, B6 and B12-based products.

As we age, we need the advice of a health and nutrition professional :

  • For your joints, consume supplements that contain collagen and vitamin C.
  • By exposing yourself to the sun or taking vitamin D it will help you preserve and increase your bone capital. As well as lowering the risk of falling among ambulatory and institutionalized older adults.
  • Taking B-6 P5P, GABA, L-Tryptophan and L-Ornithine HCL promotes melatonin, serotonin and HGH production. Keeping sleep difficulties at bay.
  • To promote blood circulation, rely on antioxidants, flavonoids, and copper.
  • CoQ10 & Omega-3 fatty acids are your brain's best friend, but also your heart.

It's all a question of dosage

Taking too many nutrients exposes you to potentially dangerous overdoses.

Overdose is poison.

Therefore, it is fundamental to be aware of these deficiencies before taking a dietary supplement, and above all to respect the dosages prescribed by the professional.

In addition, it's important to take advice from your doctor and or nutritionist so as not to take two products simultaneously, which can cause an overdose.

To prevent this type of problem, avoid taking several dietary supplements at the same time, unlessed advised to.

If this is nevertheless your case, make a note of all the substances contained in these products and add up their dosages. Remember to also take into account the quantities provided by your diet. This is particularly important for substances that are toxic by accumulation.

For example :

For Iron : 7/8 mg for children over one year
12/14 mg for teenagers
9 mg for an adult male or post-menopausal woman
16 mg for women of childbearing age
25/35 mg for pregnant women
10 mg breastfeeding woman

For Zinc : 11 mg for men or pregnant women
8 mg for women
Caffeine decreases intestinal absorption of zinc

For Copper : from 1.5 to 3 mg per day

For vitamin D : from 400 to 2000 IU daily