Anti-aging and sport food supplements

Aging well is possible.

Eating well and regularly practicing physical activity is the basis of a good aging process, but it is possible to "help" a little by also taking food supplements.

Consumers demand for well-being leads to a growing use of food supplements, which today involves around a large portion of the European population. The variety of these supplements is rich, and the quality varies depending on the raw materials used and the quantity of them in each administration unit.

Furthermore, it is important to be able to recognize when a dietary supplement cannot be sufficient to solve a given need, and it is worth taking into consideration and not postponing the possibility of taking a medicine.  

Here is the list of conditions for which, in my opinion, regular and controlled use of food supplements can be a source of relief and benefit. If you are against the use of medicines but are responsible enough to want to take food supplements under supervision or with the advice of a Physician, you will find the right advice in my surgery. 

I invite you to read, a little further down, the decalogue prepared by the Ministry of Health for consumers of food supplements.

Source of the following information is FEDERSALUS, National Association of Health Products Manufacturers and Distributors

Food supplements for skin protection

The skin is the most external covering of our body, but it is much more than a simple protection. Not only is it the largest organ (1.5 to 2 m²), but also the heaviest (3-4 kg). It must be constantly treated and protected by numerous external aggressive agents such as pollution, hot and cold climate, sun exposure and wind.

The same diet, if bad, can compromise well-being. In addition to balanced nutrition and cosmetic creams, some supplements can help take care of them. These are mainly supplements based on Biotin, Iodine, Niacin, Copper, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc, Evening Primrose Oil, substances that can contribute to maintaining normal skin and normal pigmentation , in addition to facilitating the normal formation of collagen, trophism and skin function .

Food supplements for bone and cartilage wellness

Bones and cartilages can be protected by supplementing with some substances such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Zinc, Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and Curcuma. Older people, in particular, are prone to pain and inflammation that can intensify during the winter with lowering of temperature, causing a slowing down of motor activity.

Food supplements for cardiovascular wellness

Fatty acids, EPA and DHA, Centella Asiatica, Monascus Purpureus (red rice), Vitis Vinifera, Garlic (Allium Sativum L.) are taken to keep the cardiovascular system healthy, from the functionality of the venous circulation to that of the microcirculation (in case of heaviness in the legs), to normal cardiac function. Some cardiovascular wellness supplements can be used as adjuvants in normalizing blood pressure. Fatty acids, in particular, are indicated for maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels.

Food supplements for weight control

S They are adjuvants of a low-calorie diet, based on a controlled and varied diet. Weight control supplements are formulated with functional principles of plant origin, extracted from selected plants. The most recurrent substances are Glucommanano (Konjac del Mannano) which in the context of a low-calorie diet contributes to weight loss and plant extracts such as Pineapple, Birch, Fucus, Ortosifon, Griffonia, Gymnema. These are substances that intervene on the different mechanisms of body weight regulation, optimizing the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids, controlling the sense of hunger and favoring the drainage of liquids.

Hair food supplements

Hair health is also linked to some nutrients not always regularly taken through the diet. Hair supplements perform the function of restoring strength to the hair and promoting normal maintenance and normal pigmentation. The most common substances in this category of supplements are vitamins (eg Biotin), minerals (such as Zinc and Copper) and Selenium.

Food supplements to promote sleep and improve mood

Sleep plays a key role in the life of each individual. Where sleep disorders occur, quality of life is gradually compromised and with it also the psycho-physical well-being is compromised. Some food supplements are effective  in inducing sleep and adequate rest without the need for medication. In particular, they intervene by reducing the time required to sleep, promote normal mood, facilitate relaxation and support mental well-being. The most commonly used substances, in addition to the more well-known Melatonina and Valeriana, are Griffonia, Hypericum and Melissa.

Food supplements for immune defenses

Generally indicated before the arrival of the cold season, the supplements that help the immune defenses based on Echinacea, Vitamin C and Zinc allow the body to gradually adapt and protect itself from external agents, contributing to the normal function of the immune system. Their recruitment can be recommended for the same purpose even in the event of prolonged stress, antibiotic therapies, intense training.

Antioxidant supplements

Antioxidants supplements are substances that can neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their negative action. Our body is able to control the activity of free radicals through endogenous (synthesized independently) and exogenous (present in food) antioxidant substances. Where the diet is not able to provide the right amount of antioxidant nutrients, food supplements help to protect cells and blood lipids from oxidative stress. The most commonly used substances are Copper, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and polyphenols of olive oil and Bioflavonoids.

Food supplements for throat and respiratory health

The respiratory tract can find valid aids also among food supplements based on natural functional principles. Propolis, Echinacea extracts, Eucalyptus and Rosa Canina, in drops, tablets, spray solutions and tablets, for adults and children, improve the functionality of the upper respiratory tract, the tone of the voice and contribute to the well-being of the nose and throat.

Food supplements for the well-being of the urinary tract

It is a category of food supplements useful for improving the functioning of the urinary tract in men and women. There are supplements that help prostate function in humans. The most commonly used substances are Betulla, Cranberry (Vaccinium Macrocarpon, Ait.), Ortosifon and Serenoa Repens.

Supplements for gastrointestinal wellness

I The slowing of the contractile activity of the colon and the consequent slowing of the natural flow of the stools can cause constipation, with intestinal swelling and abdominal pain. Gastrointestinal wellness supplements protect the digestive function and promote natural intestinal transit.  The most recurrent substances are activated carbon, fibers and plant extracts (eg Psyllium).

Food supplements for purification, elimination of toxins and liver function

Plant extracts such as Cardo Mariano, Curcuma, Cynara and Dandelion favor the body's physiological purification processes, liver function and help eliminate liquids and toxins from the body.

Probiotic and prebiotic lactic ferments

Probiotics are live and active microorganisms able, once ingested in adequate quantities, to reach the intestine, multiply and promote the maintenance of a physiological ecosystem, so as to directly or indirectly strengthen natural intestinal defenses. FAO and WHO define them as "living organisms that, when administered in adequate quantities, benefit the health of the host" i. International guidelines require that this definition be associated with the presence of fundamental properties such as: the ability to overcome the gastric and biliary barrier, the inhibition of the growth of pathogenic bacteria, the stimulation of immune defenses, colonization and intestinal persistence and finally adhesion to the intestinal mucosa. The benefits to the body associated with probiotics and supported by scientific studies are not to be understood as general effects of probiotics since each effect is to be traced back to a single strain or to the individual strains tested. The prebiotics are, on the other hand, substances present in food, generally fibers, not digested by the organism but used by the intestinal flora. Taken in adequate quantities, they selectively promote the growth and activity of one or more bacteria already present in the intestinal tract or taken together with the prebiotic. Supplements consisting of the association of a probiotic with prebiotic are defined as a symbiotic integrator.

Food supplements for vision wellness

There are several causes of eye aging and gradual vision loss. Adequate dietary supplementation with antioxidants and zinc can slow down this physiological process. A correct lifestyle and a right diet can help, but this is not always enough to adequately protect the eyes. Food supplements based on vitamins (Vitamin B2 and Vitamin A) and mineral salts, DHA, Blueberry allow to preserve normal vision.

Tonic and energetic food supplements

These food supplements are useful to combat psycho-physical fatigue and contribute to normal energy metabolism. Their intake is particularly indicated in periods of high stress and in conditions of intense physical activity. This is the case, for example, of creatine which increases physical performance in the case of repetitive, high intensity and short duration activities. The most recurrent substances are vitamins, mineral salts and amino acids (in combination), Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba.

Vitamin and multivitamin supplements

Vitamins are fundamental micronutrients for maintaining good health. Not being produced by the body and for this reason they must be taken from the outside through food. Considering their solubility they are distinguished and classified in fat-soluble, that is soluble in fats (Vitamins A, D, E, K, F) and water-soluble, ie soluble in water (Vitamins C, B1, B2, B5, B6, PP, B12, B9, H). The need for vitamins is linked to the physiological and / or pathological state of the person and is influenced by numerous factors such as age, sex, pregnancy, etc. Cases of hypo and avitaminosis caused by unbalanced and deficient diets are not rare, as happens for example in the case of low-calorie diets. Where the diet is not sufficient to reach the required quantity, vitamin supplements are a valid solution to complete the nutritional intake.

Salt supplements

However, excessive sweating caused by intense physical activity, particular environmental conditions or high fever, or specific cases due to certain pathologies, or particular states (for example during pregnancy) may require the intake of minerals through food supplements. Mineral salts represent about 6% of body weight. Although the daily requirement is therefore limited, it is important to constantly replenish them. Based on the daily requirement they are classified into three main groups: macroelements (requirement> 100 mg / day, eg Calcium, Chlorine, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium and Sulfur), microelements (1 - 100 mg / day eg Iron, Fluorine) and trace elements (<200 mg / day). 

Food supplements for woman's health

A woman's life is dotted with phases characterized by significant physical changes that are not always compensated naturally. The period of pregnancy, for example, is particularly critical from the food point of view, since the diet has a fundamental impact on the health of both mother and child. To optimize the health of both children and reduce the risk of malformations or illnesses in children, it is essential that the woman reaches an optimal nutritional status before, during and after pregnancy. Not always does the diet manage to provide all the necessary nutrients and often it is necessary to resort to supplementation (eg Folate, Calcium and Iron). The same attention must be paid during menopause, a period during which women should take more calcium and vitamin D. Supplements also improve the regularity of the menstrual cycle (eg phytoestrogens such as soy isoflavones) and improve the conditions of the so-called "syndrome premenstrual syndrome"(eg Magnesium).

Something more about food supplements

Food supplements are products presented in small consumption units such as capsules, tablets, phialoids and the like, based on nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect, designed and proposed to favor the regular performance of the body's functions without any purpose of care. The use of these products must take place in a conscious and informed way on their function and their properties to be safe and useful on a physiological level, without coming into conflict with the safeguarding of healthy eating habits and behaviors in the context of a healthy style of life. The Ministry of Health provides 10 useful tips with this Decalogue:



A varied and balanced diet generally provides all the nutrients the body needs. In the context of a healthy and active lifestyle, it is essential to protect and promote health and well-being. For this it is necessary to follow the warning, shown on the label of all the supplements, not to use them as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


A food supplement cannot "compensate" for incorrect behavior. If necessary, instead, it can complement a varied and balanced diet, when the physiological effects reported on the label meet specific needs for optimizing health and well-being.



Always consult your doctor in advance if: 

• you are not in good health or if you are on medication to make sure there are no contraindications or the possibility of interactions; 

• you intend to use more supplements in combination; 

• the employment is destined for vulnerable groups of the population, such as children and women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Do not take supplements for prolonged periods without consulting your doctor periodically if you use them for "chronically" conditions of the body, such as blood pressure or blood cholesterol levels.



In case of undesired or unexpected effects, stop taking the supplement. Even supplements can sometimes cause such effects for the physiologically active substances they contain. In these cases, promptly inform your doctor or pharmacist (possibly bringing him the packaging used), who can report the event to the phytovigilance system.


Always read the label of the supplement you are about to take. Pay particular attention to the methods of use and storage methods, to the ingredients in consideration of any allergies or intolerances, to the properties indicated and to all warnings. 


Do not take food supplements in doses higher than those indicated on the label, established to perform physiological effects. The use of supplements in excess can cause disadvantageous consequences for your health, especially if it is prolonged over time.


To reduce overweight and dispose of excess fat it is necessary to decrease the caloric intake of food with an adequate diet and, at the same time, increase the energy expenditure of the body with a good level of physical activity. The use of any food supplement can only be secondary and accessory. Do not follow hypocaloric diets for a long time, beyond three weeks, without hearing the opinion of the doctor to assess their adequacy according to their specific needs. To maintain the result achieved it is necessary to permanently change eating habits and follow an active lifestyle.


Even doing sports, with a varied and balanced diet in general, you can satisfy the nutritional needs of your body. The possible use of food supplements must take into account the type of activity carried out, the actual individual needs and the indications on the label.  Taking supplements at doses higher than those recommended, which excessively unbalance the dietary intake of nutrients and other physiologically active substances, is irrational and can have disadvantageous consequences on physical condition, performance and, if prolonged, even on your health.


Be wary of supplements advertised for amazing properties and effects or as "miraculous" solutions to various problems. Supplements, like many other products, can now also be found outside common commercial channels, such as the internet. On the portal of the Ministry of Health ( you will find the National Register of food supplements, which you can consult to check which products are regularly notified for placing on the Italian market.    

Paola Micale 2019 - Contacts