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The cult of dietary supplements: myths about dietary supplements
The cult of dietary supplements: myths about dietary supplements
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Exploring the misconceptions associated with dietary supplements with the MD.

E1.RU continues to debunk various scientific and pseudo-scientific myths together with Yekaterinburg scientists. Today we will focus on the misconceptions associated with dietary supplements.

We will find out how vitamins differ from dietary supplements, we will find out whether they can replace a balanced diet and cure diseases, whether it is true that there are supplements with worms for weight loss and whether the effectiveness of the pill depends on the shape of the tablet.

We asked Leonid Larionov, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Technological Sciences, Professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology of USMU, to answer all these questions.

Myth one: there is no chemistry in dietary supplements

- Supplements are natural or similar to natural pharmacological components or compositions of natural biologically active substances, - Leonid Larionov begins the conversation. - Dietary supplements came to Russia from America, but now they are actively produced here. In general, dietary supplements are drugs, a complex of vitamins and minerals, a cross between food and medicine. Mostly dietary supplements are made from plant materials. It includes thousands of plant species: flowering, fruit, woody and others.

These dietary supplements were invented at the medical university.

Receive or make dietary supplements from flowers, fruits, stems, roots, rhizomes, bark of a number of trees. The technology for producing dietary supplements is quite different: plant raw materials are ground at low temperatures, after drying, water extraction, water-alcohol or alcohol extraction. For longer storage, food preservatives may be added to the additives.

I myself have been working on dietary supplements for about 20 years and considered, and now I think, that they are useful if they are really formulated according to the appropriate recipe, in which all proportions are observed and a plant extract is used. In general, dietary supplements came from traditional medicine, when they made decoctions, infusions, tinctures and extracts. If the plant is grown in favorable ecologically clean conditions and the land suits it, then, accordingly, it will make a good food supplement. There should be no synthetic chemistry in biologically active additives. And the chemistry gets into them because the plants were taken in the wrong place - they grew by the road, or they were harvested at the wrong time: autumn, winter, summer - it all matters.

Several types of tea were successfully introduced into production.

Myth two: dietary supplements can compensate for poor nutrition

- The dietary supplement helps to normalize nutrition, but of course, it is impossible to completely compensate for poor nutrition with such additives. Let me give you an example of how dietary supplements work in the gastrointestinal tract. In some cases, in the gastrointestinal tract, the absorption capacity is inhibited, the body does not have enough strength to "pull out" useful substances from the product taken. And when we have prepared biologically active substances for the body, the absorption of nutrients is quite easy.

And if the food is super balanced, then dietary supplements are not needed?

- If the functions of the gastrointestinal tract are not impaired, if the liver works well, then there is no need for dietary supplements. But if there is an overwork of the body, then it is possible to take dietary supplements again in small quantities, otherwise there may be the opposite effect - transcendental inhibition. In his student years, many experienced it themselves. For example, tea is known to stimulate the functional state of the brain. Some students, preparing for the exam, brew strong tea, but at the same time decide to rest for about 20 minutes in the late hours of the day and then sleep soundly until late in the morning, being late for the exam for which they were preparing. Therefore, it is impossible to take supplements in excess.

They put rats in this box and observe how their behavior changes after taking drugs.

Myth three: dietary supplements are not a medicine, and they have no expiration date

- I cannot 100% agree with this for the simple reason that all plant species have a "useful life". If they are stored for a long time, they lose their properties, and chemical structures are destroyed. For example, aspen bark will remain the same bitter, but there will be no beneficial effect. There are plants that retain useful properties for several years, but constantly some percentage of their usefulness will be lost. Will not disappear completely, but the effect will be less.

And this is a modern replacement for that box, everything is automated here.

The fourth myth: dietary supplements with worms help to effectively lose weight

- I was extremely surprised to see a patent for the introduction of helminthic invasion into the intestines for weight loss. Even in the first year of the medical institute, the teachers of the Department of General Biology talked about the dangers of worm flukes for the human body. Yes, there will be weight loss, but if an egg or a small cell of this parasite remains in the body, it will develop again, what will all this lead to? Then it will be very difficult for the body to recover from this thinness. Of course, these are not healthy dietary supplements.

This dietary supplement with vitamin C and Rhodiola rosea was also invented at the Department of Pharmacology.

The fifth myth: only those dietary supplements are useful that are made from plants "close" to humans

- The relationship, however, is. It is important that the plants from which the additives are made grow in the ecological environment in which a person lives. We are not always adapted to exotic plants, therefore, such additives will be absorbed worse. Take aspen, for example. There is a legend that at the funeral of a not very good person they say: he should not put up a cross, but drive in an aspen stake. But hares and moose love aspen bark and leaves, which means that there is something useful in aspen. And indeed, upon examination, it turned out that aspen bark tincture very activates the body. A similar effect is manifested from the tincture of lilac bark, but the extract obtained from the hawthorn fruit has a sufficient antiarrhythmic effect in cardiac arrhythmias.

Another important point is the land on which the plant grows. Let me give you a simple example. If you plant berries on the same bed for several years in a row, then in 5-6 years the berry may be large, but its taste will be lost, and the aroma will be completely different, the same with plants for dietary supplements.

Some more firms claim that the effectiveness of dietary supplements depends not only on the composition, but even on the shape of the tablet…

- I think that this is all fantasy, there is no connection between the form of the pill and the effectiveness. The dietary supplement release form depends on the type of plant, there are teas, there are tablets, there are capsules.

Leonid Larionov advises taking dietary supplements, but in moderation.

The sixth myth: a dietary supplement pill is absorbed by the body better than a natural product

- No, it's still better to eat a real lemon than a dietary supplement with vitamin C, there is still more of this vitamin in a lemon. It is not necessary to combine both. There is a risk of hypervitaminosis, if there is no harm, then the excess simply will not be absorbed in any way. And if this is not a dietary supplement, but a vitamin of synthetic origin, then there will definitely be no benefit.

But many vitamins are now obtained synthetically, and they say that there is no difference …

- Studies have been carried out in Japan and the United States about vitamin C. It turned out that when a person takes a synthetic vitamin, and this is especially bad for children and pregnant women, he develops a predisposition to malignant neoplasms. When a pregnant woman takes multivitamins, in which there are high concentrations of components, children are born large - 4, 5 - 5 kilograms each, it is difficult to give birth to them. And then what? It would seem that everything in these children is normal, but they went to school and began to lag behind their peers.They show insufficient concentration of attention, they are scattered, there is no physical activity. There are several Ph.D. theses that the intake of synthetic multivitamins is harmful. Dietary supplements are definitely healthier.

The scientist is sure that dietary supplements are safer than synthetic vitamins.

After the "interrogation" of our scientist, we went with him to the laboratory, where they receive dietary supplements and other medications.

- These are biologically active food supplements that we made at the Medical University. These are phyto-creeps - plants crushed according to a special technology, at first at a low temperature down to -170 ° C, then at a temperature of -18 degrees. In this sachet, rowan juice, in this hawthorn granules, it does not have a toxic substance, as in synthetic vitamins. But only a few types of tea were successfully introduced into production. Others froze at the stage of clinical trials - factories do not have the ability to organize production, - says Leonid Larionov.

Stir the powder in water - you get the juice.

A new device has recently appeared in the laboratory, which will allow analyzing the behavior of animals on which drugs and dietary supplements are tested, without constant monitoring - the device records the data: how much food they eat, how much water they drink. Previously, an open field was used - animals were planted in a special box with markings and watched as they move.

The Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology of USMU conducts joint research with the Institute of Organic Synthesis, the Institute of Solid State Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and other scientific organizations. Leonid Larionov has 27 patents for inventions, many have been introduced into the production of partner firms of the department.

This rabbit has to "taste" the preparations.

These rats are put in a box and their behavior after taking drugs is studied.

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