In conversation with Dr. Omkar Kulkarni, Head, R and D (Healthcare) Netsurf Research Labs Pvt Ltd

In the present fast paced lifestyle, we hardly have any time to focus on our complete nutrition. Most of us are only trying to fill the stomach without the conscious efforts to consume essentially required nutrients in daily life.

1. Why do you need nutrition supplement?

Before answering this question, I would like to briefly tell you what does a nutritional supplement mean. The term nutritional supplement, nutraceuticals or dietary supplements are fairly new but they have been used in a variety of forms since ages. The kind of Laddus, desserts and herbal soups we used to have in older days been kind of nutritional supplements of that time. These were the products which are intended to fulfil the nutritional gap of a person are called nutritional supplements. They are a sort of nutritional products with specific functions in our body.

In the present fast paced lifestyle, we hardly have any time to focus on our complete nutrition. Most of us are only trying to fill the stomach without the conscious efforts to consume essentially required nutrients in daily life. Even if we try to be conscious about the consume nutritionally balanced food, faulty agricultural practices, harvesting methods and cooking habits make the food further nutritionally inferior. This is creating a big nutritional gap which makes us vulnerable for poor health and immunity. In a developing country like India, it is ironic to find malnutrition spread all across the socio-economic strata making it a more dangerous and continuing epidemic. To minimize this gap of demand and supply of nutrient to the body, a nutritional supplement is a need of time. A good quality, natural supplement which can ensure essential supply of all necessary nutrients to the body can minimize the impacts of malnutrition leading to a healthier community.

2. What kind of nutrition supplements should one consume? Who should essentially consume nutrition supplements?

The need of a good quality supplement is almost for everyone who is unable to manage a natural complete daily nutrition. We can broadly classify the nutritional supplements into two categories, daily nutrition, and functional nutrition. A daily nutrition is the one which ensures bridging the gap all the essential macronutrients (like protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fibres) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The other nutritional supplement class is functional nutrition which is more specific to your needs. Like if a person is having poor lifestyle leading to imbalanced glucose metabolism, then a nutritional supplement designed to improve his glucose metabolism would be beneficial for him.

So, in short, a person should evaluate his needs and start with a supplement which can ensure daily proper nutrient supply as well as some functional supplement to balance his lifestyle related issues.

3. Can nutrition supplements make up for poor diet?

Mere supplementation cannot compensate a poor diet and lifestyle. Daily poor diet not just keeps you deprived of nutrition but also damages your body systems. Supplementation is just to fill the gap of nutrition and balance physiological function of body. And you should always ensure a proper food habits, active lifestyle and rest to enhance their benefits.

4. How does it help against the Covid19 virus? Does it help in building your immunity?

Currently we are so much focused on Covid 19 virus, although for the obvious reasons, but we should not also forget other lifestyle disorders and infections which are even more dangerous than Covid 19. For all kinds of infections, we are blessed with a wonderful natural army of our body which keeps on protecting us, we call it the immune system. This immune system helps prevent and manage the infection causing germs to keep up healthy. This system is nourished by the food we eat, active lifestyle and rest we take. If we maintain a good, balanced nutrition and proper supplementation, the immune system keeps on working to its best. This empowers us to cope up with all sorts of infection and minimize the systemic damage. This works exactly like the defence forces of any country. The more useful resources you provide to the defence system, the more will be their power to combat the enemies. So, always chose a best lifestyle, diet pattern and a proper supplement that will be suitable for you to build and maintain your immune system.

5. What is the impact that you have noticed when one consumes such supplements?

The commonest benefit we observe is that the person starts feeling more energetic from within. His overall metabolism starts coming back to optimal level and the chances of frequent illnesses are reduced. This is more pronounced if one ensures complete nutrition and an overall lifestyle change as well. Long term impact of the proper nutritional supplementation may help prevent future chances of disorders due to nutritional deficiency.

6. Could you please list advantages and disadvantages, if not consumed in right proportion?

Nutritional supplements are the nutrients with some added benefits. Everything in the world works better in moderation and this is applicable to nutritional supplements too. If they are consumed in right proportion, they help meet your daily nutritional needs and may help maintain optimal functioning of body. However, irrational and overconsumption of supplements can lead to overburdening your metabolism and liver. Like we get vitamin deficiency, overconsumption of vitamins can also lead to a variety of diseases called as hyper-vitaminosis.

7. Any other inputs that you would like to share?

One of the most important points one should understand before going for any nutritional supplement. First thing is it is a ‘supplement’ means it is not a replacement to your daily proper meals. Also, you cannot compensate your natural home-made healthy food with any supplement. These supplements are there to bridge the gap and should be only considered for that. They are not to be consumed to cure or prevent any diseases. It is always a wise decision to talk to your physician or an expert before consuming any nutritional supplement. This is furthermore important in case of kids, pregnancy, lactation, kidney or liver disorders and elderly.

To summarize, in recent era, it is always better to choose the right, simple, uncomplicated and natural nutritional supplement to suit your needs along with a healthier diet and active lifestyle.

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