Background: The modern way of life involves high stress levels, poor
eating habits, lack of exercise, obesity and other detrimental health factors. Nutritional
supplements (NS) are complexes of nutrients with variant activity that may
infer reversal to nutrient depletion. They tend to be popular amongst social categories
associated with the healthy life style, such as the elite and amateur athletes,
military people and the general population.
Objective: An overview of the state of play with regard to nutritional supplements -
natural and synthetic-, is important both from toxicological and commercial point of
Method: From a thorough literature review on nutritional supplements, several patents of application
have been identified and herewith reviewed which recommend natural vegetable extracts as food supplements
for prophylaxis, therapy, protection of immune system, diabetes, oxidative stress, cancer,
chronic inflammations and other health conditions. Besides, nutritional supplements of pharmacological
validity and high popularity are discussed relative to their contents and group of use.
Results: Cases of adulteration or unintentional contamination of commercial products with abusing
substances (doping substances, narcotics etc.) or toxic compounds (heavy metals, plant toxics) have
shed light to the problem of causing recalls of some products by the FDA.
Conclusion: From the safety/ quality point of view, NS lack of harmonisation and sovereign laws/ institutional
controls on the market and their wide commercialization may possibly lead to risks to public