Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The public has been warned against using food supplements without expert advice.
According to the National Drug Authority (NDA), none of the supplements being marketed in the country have been tested to establish which contents they have.
Victoria Nambasa, the director product safety at NDA, says that they have not evaluated any food supplements for preventive, curative or diagnostic purposes and that they are not scientifically proven even as they are widely claimed to important in building the body.
“Some organizations and individuals tend to market and sell products labelled as supplements to members of the public with claims that they can be used to treat medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, joint pain, obesity.
Supplements can be used to get adequate amounts of nutrients but they are not to take the place of medicine in treating any medical condition”, she said.
She warned that some supplements can, in fact, interact with prescription drugs in ways that might cause problems.
Salma Uthuman had been grappling with low immunity which made her suffer from infections from time to time, according to her until she was introduced to products of BF SUMA, a company based in the United States that sells food supplements in Uganda.
Uthuman calls it a drug company that has saved her life that now by using a range of their products including soaps, beverages and tablets, she no longer falls sick.
She says that she was referred to the products by a friend who says she earns big from selling the same products.
She has since embarked on selling the items too marketing them as drugs that can cure vaginal infections, insomnia, blood pressure, boosting immunity among those living with HIV among other many health problems.
Another expert, Dr Paul Kasenene a nutritionist says increasingly, with people consuming foods that are low in nutrients has made it appropriate that someone complements them with a supplement. Kasenene, however, adds that even when recommended supplements shouldn’t be used long term.
For him, many people are using these dietary supplements because regulators have not specified to them on how they can be marketed and therefore take advantage to sometimes mislead unsuspecting users.
Both Kasenene and Nambasa argue that the items should only be used when recommended.