Image Alt

Zareer Patell

It all began between the 16th and the 18th century when sick sailors who had no access to fresh food supplies for months together returned home with swollen and bleeding gums – wounds on their legs, and so on… It is said that more than two million sailors died because of this unknown cause during that time.
This disease continued even up to the beginning of the 19th century and was finally discovered to be due to the lack of lemons, oranges, and fresh vegetables in their diet. Therefore, the sailors were made to carry a huge stock of citrus fruits along with their long journeys at sea – and this helped…!
Later, in the 1930s it was found that the disease ‘Scurvy’ was due to ascorbic acid (Vit C) deficiency. Therefore, for the first time in history, synthetic vit C was made to cater to the demand. That’s how vit-C supplements flooded the market and continue to be selling even today.
Another distressing condition commonly noticed in poverty-stricken children with dangerously poor diet – resulting in weak or soft bones, bowed legs, stunted growth, abnormally curved spine, etc., is called ‘Rickets, due to Vit D and Calcium deficiency – as one of the reasons. This resulted in the making of the much-needed Vit D supplements – also used extensively to boost the immune system.
We also see young children and women in poorer households having an increased risk of anemia. Globally, anemia is estimated to affect one-quarter of the entire population. Well-known risk factors include vit A, B12, and Calcium deficiencies, parasitic infection, and sometimes genetic factors as well. Hence, supplements of iron, folic acid, Zinc, B12, vit A, Calcium etc,.. have come into existence and are here to stay.
Other than that, human beings can also have vitamin B deficiencies on account of unhealthy diet practices (processed and packaged food). This explains why we are asked to take multivitamins and minerals supplements by doctors.
Other commonly found deficiencies found in the general population are Iodine, Magnesium and vit A, to name a few.
While some of us might get all the nutrients from eating healthy, others need that extra nutrient boost. There is evidence that such supplements will benefit you health-wise if you are deficient in one or more of the essential nutrients.
It’s easy to find that out. Your healthcare professional will tell you whether you require a supplement or not. In other words, we are under the supervision of qualified medical professionals in this regard.
But what about those hundreds of other dietary supplements (not nutraceuticals!) galore that have invaded the market in the last three decades? Every brand has an overwhelming hype woven around it – enticing customers to purchase herbal supplements, essential oils, exotic extracts, protein supplements, anabolic enhancers, various amino acids, fat loss pills, energy pills etc., all parading exaggerated claims? These are professed by self-styled influencers, some, even scientists and doctors, and many more from the fitness and nutrition industry as well.
Furthermore, the regulatory authorities are not able to scrutinise such non-prescription products. You don’t need a doctor’s advice – all you need is deep pockets and a blind belief that these products will make you healthy, boost your immunity, and prevent you from ageing. Hope against hope – and nobody gets themselves tested – whether your body needs them or not! Keep waiting for the day (results), which never arrives. Online customers search trends relating to supplements all the time.
On the other hand, gym rats invest their whole earnings into buying supplements, year after year – let’s leave that for another day!
Despite their popularity some concerns about their quality, safety, and efficacy have been raised time and again. Variable amounts of contaminants were reported in a significant amount of dietary supplements.
Amidst the noise, it can be very hard to know which supplement – if any – is right for you.
Remember, dietary supplements may work only if you know that you are deficient in certain nutrients. Otherwise, you are flushing your money down the drain!
After all, they are factory-made chemicals which you are needlessly dumping into your body – which can, over time, turn your body into a cesspool!
Zareer Patell- Blackbelt, Fitness and Personal Trainer and Wellness Columnist since 1972.

Post a Comment


The fabled fountain of youth has become a reality. Centuries ago, Ponce de Leon went chasing after it & started a trend that exists to this day. The waters of the Bahamas & Florida that de Leon believed could restore health & youth – although nice to swim in – didn’t quite cut it. You can also forget about finding the answer on some mountaintop.

Working hours

Monday – Friday:
07:00 – 20:00

07:00 – 16:00

Sunday Closed

My socials