The Nutraceutical industry is a booming field in India as the consumers are increasingly gaining exposure to various Dietary supplements and fortified products. Despite increasing awareness, nutrition remains an incompletely understood concept in India and a large portion of the population suffers from Malnutrition in one or the other form. As Nutraceuticals are presumed to be safe and are marketed without prescription in India, it is crucial to impose stringent guidelines and regulations over the active ingredients of nutraceuticals, identity, purity and bioavailability for the rationale use of nutraceuticals. Nutrivigilance is necessary to incorporate monitoring schemes to identify the adverse effects caused by nutraceuticals for the consumer safety.
Reporting by Healthcare providers:
Healthcare providers play a vital role as they are actively connected with patients and consumers. They are also aware of the health profile, history and current medication regimen of their patients. They can thus be tapped as influencers to educate the consumers about ensuring the right Nutrition.
Educating the consumer:
Providing Nutrivigilance guidance, awareness and updates as leaflets to consumers can improve awareness among them. Once again, healthcare providers can be instrumental in explaining potential side effects or inappropriate use and potentially risky combination of Nutraceuticals with other medicines.
Combating adverse effects of Nutraceuticals:
- Avoiding prolonged use of Nutraceuticals without guidance of healthcare professionals
- Not taking Nutraceuticals to treat self-diagnosed conditions
- Not consuming Nutraceuticals with, or instead of Prescription medications without
- consulting a Healthcare professional
- Consulting healthcare professionals about the supplements taken before a surgical procedure
- Abstaining use of Nutraceuticals sold through improper and untrustworthy channels
- Being cognizant of labels and information provided on Nutraceutical products
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education act as well as the Food Safety and Standards act have issued rules and regulations regarding registration and licensing of Nutraceuticals in India.
As per norms, the manufacturer:
- Is accountable for product analysis, development, authentication and safety of Nutraceuticals
- it makes and supplies
- Must not print any misleading information on the labels
- Must not claim that the product will diagnose, treat or prevent any disease
- Must guarantee purity, composition and identity of their Nutraceuticals
The domestic Nutraceutical market is currently experiencing growth. Existing as well as new players are providing nutraceuticals and dietary supplements both locally as well as globally.
With this background, the standardization of these products is one of the valiant challenges for regulators and the industry stakeholders. The need, scope and importance of Nutrivigilance have to be accepted with paramount importance.