We think that the food that we eat does not provide the nutrition needed for the body so we resort to pills known as nutritional supplements. Often termed as dietary supplements or food supplement, the nutritional supplements are nothing but addition to a balanced diet. In other words, any consumable health product which contains one or more ingredients, commonly found in food that we consume.

The food that we eat consists of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, also known as macronutrients. As our body needs more energy to carry out day to day activities, the need for these substances is required in large quantities. It is not necessary that the food that we eat has all the nutrients (tough most it is covered). There are certain undiscovered constituents which these nutritional supplements fulfill. They include substances such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, herbs etc. and are referred to as micronutrients as they play a small role in building a good health.

The nutritional supplement is growing at a fast pace, as the industry is cutting across all age groups- from young till old. These supplements have not only struck the developed nations but the developing nations like India has also been taken in by these supplements.

According to a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSCHOM), 78% adolescent in urban India consume at least one type of nutritional supplement. As some analysts say there will be a boom of nutrition products in India by 2013.

But certain facts contradict the expansion dream which say that the nutrition products in India are still at a nascent stage (as we still believe in ‘natural’ medicines and cure) as the consumers are unaware of the products and their benefits. Moreover in India the nutrition product market can be tapped only if the rural population is taken into confidence.

There are certain impediments that come in way of such supplements, they are: lack of standardization, high pricing, marketing and distribution challenges etc. The rules and regulations set by the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) is full of flaws. The FDA is not directly responsible for individual companies. In other words, any pharmaceutical company can manufacture any nutritional supplement and market it as safe to consume.

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If the US has so many loopholes in its laws then India, a developing country, is bound to bear the brunt of the expansion in future.

There are many pharmaceutical companies who produce such supplement and one example of it is Dhanvantrai Pharmacy which did a business of Rs 20 crore in 2011 by selling colostrums capsules aimed to boost immunity. As such there are many nutrition products in India like: folic acid, energy givers such as Revital, steroids, caffeine pills, protein powders, herbal supplements, creatine, amino acid etc.

There are certain dos and dont’s that you must take care of before buying nutritional supplements. Prior to popping up pills you need to understand that the supplement alone cannot be the source of energy and cannot maintain sound health. These supplements work only if you follow a proper diet followed by regular exercise. Supplements can never ever substitute healthy and nutritious meal.

By Haadi