Dr Joel Akande
Food supplements are artificially extracted vitamins and minerals that would have otherwise been taking in natural foods but are now packaged as “supplementary.”
Food supplements come in various forms, colours and shapes. Consumers purchase supplements in the belief that it will do what sellers or manufacturers say it will do: such as for improvement in general health, fertility booster, sexual performance, improvement in brain power and so forth.
Doctors are skeptical of most of these claims. However, there are some that have been proven to work in some diseases situations, especially if the individuals concerned have not been able to take sufficient amount of such supplements.
Food supplements consist or could consist of well-established vitamins, minerals, proteins and herbs. It’s in the area of herbs that physicians often lose faith as most of the herbs are not established in documented science or be rigorously tested to determine the dose, formulation and their side effects.
For our purpose, I will in this week, discuss fertility boosters. Fertility supplements or as consumers have come to label it, “fertility boosters,” run into multibillion dollars industry yearly.
“The global fertility supplements market size was estimated at USD 1.45 billion in 2018. It is anticipated to be driven by the declining fertility rates owing to the increase in the number of smokers along with the rising consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
Rising geriatric population, healthcare costs, changing lifestyle, innovation in food, medical discoveries, and expectations regarding the high prices of fertility supplements have aided the overall market growth as well as the product demand,” according to Grand View Research “Market Research Report” on the subject.
Yet, due to the desperation of infertility sufferers combined with various ungrounded claims of multiple “natural” preparations, concoction and “herbs” as being fertility boosters, mixed with a lot of myths and folk stories combined, have rendered an otherwise scientific endeavour opaque.
It’s ironic that consumers rush to seek and use these preparations and some healthcare professionals may even prescribe them oblivious to the fact that in current knowledge, these supplements may not resolve reproductive physical obstructions such as fibroid, infection, tubal blockage, Asherman’s syndrome and cervical incompetence, in women.
In men, infection, testicular atrophy or ejaculatory duct obstruction may be a hindrance to the beneficial effects of these supplements.
Thus, in the face of these physical or infectious reproductive challenges, the use of these preparations without first resolving these barriers to reproduction, is for all practical purposes, useless.
I must warn that, most health or fertility boosters can be obtained in natural foods when taken timely, in well preserved forms and in adequate amount.
In some occasions, the human body may suffer from illnesses and digestion of natural foods may be impaired. In such a case, addition of supplements to regular intake may be justified.
Another very important notice that consumers should be aware of is that excess of these supplements may be harmful to the body.
Existing diseases such as cancer may be made worse by unnecessary vitamin and mineral intake. Some organs such as liver could get damaged.
For example: a person suffering from cancer should not take folic acid without instruction from his or her physician.
Another example: except at the instructions of the doctor, individuals should not consume vitamin A, Vitamin D and calcium. Excess of these products are potentially harmful to the human health.
Recommendations: Before taking supplements, endeavor to consult with your doctor for guidance. The doctor could determine your current health status and the blood levels of the supplements you intend to take. You may already have enough in your system.
Example: it’s dangerous to take excess of iron supplements as you could suffer from iron overload. The second recommendation is that eat balanced diets consisting of natural food.
These supplements could be found in the following: protein and complex vitamins (non-red meat, fish, beans), vitamins (apple, pawpaw, orange, grapes, green leaves), carbohydrates (yam, gari, cocoyam, plantain etc), fat (plant oil in form of palm oil or vegetable oil) and clean water.
They should be consumed in reasonable measures daily. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. If you have to, eat processed food that is fortified with vitamins.
Remember that all of these recommended intake should be backed up with an average of physical exercises of 150 minutes weekly.
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