The need for dietary supplements is rising in Saudi Arabia, given the rise in junk foods and the effective role that supplements could play in treating diseases that are caused by the deficiencies in vitamin and minerals.
According to a recent study, 22 percent of the people in the kingdom take nutritional supplements. Saudi businesses are therefore partnering with international dietary-supplement companies to bring in more consignments.
Dietary supplements are substances that give the human body a nutrient missing from a person’s regular diet; this according to a Saudi dietitian Dr. Rowaidah Idriss who has a Ph.D. in nutrition. She however said that supplements aren’t intended to replace healthy eating.
Idriss warned against consuming supplements without the consultation of a dietitian as certain products can have side effects, particularly if consumed with other medicines or taken before surgery.
Idriss also said that supplements can also cause problems for a person with certain health issues.
“The nutrients we are not getting enough of in our diet can be determined by a blood test, and so we can know which supplements might be beneficial. Certain health conditions can also be treated by nutritional supplements,” Idriss said.
Idriss went on to say that Vitamin C is often used to decrease cold symptoms and fish oil is taken to lower raised blood triglycerides.
The dietitian said that she regularly recommends a daily multivitamin intake and mineral supplements to her clients after consulting with their doctors.
She said for menstruating women who need 18mg of iron every day, a daily supplement aid improves iron intake.
Idriss added that people above 50 are recommended to take multivitamins so as to ensure they get enough B12 which plays a vital role in the functioning of the nervous system and the development of the red blood cells.
Idriss believes that Saudis who take food supplements frequently do it to benefit their appearance more than their health. She said that the women consume more dietary supplements than other people in the Kingdom.
The dietician says that the combination of supplements with medications can have dangerous and even life-threatening consequences.
For instance she warns that taking a vitamin E supplement, aspirin, and an anticoagulant together may increase the possibility for internal bleeding as well as stroke.