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Food Supplements in Private Pharmacies in Mexico

By Marcos Pascual Cruz - Asesoria en Farmacias
Director General


Marcos Pascual By Marcos Pascual | Director General - Tue, 03/14/2023 - 16:00

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In regulatory matters and according to the federal government, what are food supplements?

They are herbal products, plant extracts, traditional foods, dehydrated or fruit concentrates, with or without added vitamins or minerals, which can be presented in pharmaceutical form* and whose purpose of use is to increase the total dietary intake, complement it or replace any component, according to article 215, section V, of the General Health Law.

According to COFEPRIS: “A food supplement provides nutrients, such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates or carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals.

The accepted pharmaceutical forms are those that are ingested orally such as capsule, emulsion, suspension, syrup, powder, solutions and tablets, among others contemplated in the Pharmacopoeia of the United Mexican States. Shapes typical of other product categories such as confectionery (candy, lollipops, chewing gum), patches, injectable solution, among others, are not allowed.” 

In Mexico, the regulatory framework allows food supplements to be dispensed without a prescription and are freely accessible. The vast majority are registered in groups 5 and 6 of article 226 of the General Health Law.

There is a niche opportunity for pharmacies that are trained under the Labor Competences Certification scheme to provide information and advice in the dispensing of these products, providing their clients with a service and support that reinforces the doctor's prescription.

That is why we will mention two very important issues that food supplements" address and resolve, borrowing the text from two reputable sources:

From Medicable:

Diet and immune system

At the present moment, which we hope will be the end of this epidemiological emergency that we have experienced for the last two years, we are all aware of the importance of having an effective immune system capable of facing germs, such as SARS-Cov2, which  has held humanity in suspense for so long.

The immune system is the body's natural defense against infection. Through different tissues, cells and substances, it recognizes and learns to fight and destroy invading infectious organisms, such as viruses and bacteria. When the immune system is working properly, illnesses are usually shorter and less severe, or in some cases not at all.

The immune system depends on many factors, such as adequate sleep and to a large extent on a correct and balanced diet.

People are born with an immature immune system, which will mature over time thanks to contact with infectious agents; this is called immunological memory. When we have the first infection, we have a clinical picture with symptoms, but when we face that agent a second time, and have already been protected, we do not develop the disease or the symptoms will be much milder.

In the case of small children and babies, it can be very difficult to get them to eat everything, so the best idea is to teach our children good eating habits from an early age, which is achieved by setting an example; that is, if the baby watches how mom and dad eat vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and legumes, eventually they will see it as natural. In the same way, if they are surrounded by junk food, if cakes are a reward and sweets are a comfort, they will not acquire those healthy habits, and they will be closed to trying new, healthier things.

Sometimes, to strengthen the immune system of children, a pediatrician may recommend a food supplement; however, a baby or young child should never self-medicate, even with vitamins for their age. In the same way, the immune system of the elderly can benefit from supplements appropriate to their age, but it must always be under the strict supervision of a specialist.

It is very important that we know that "eating well" does not mean eating a lot, but rather including in the diet all the food groups that provide you with fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Another mistake that we often make is to think that eating healthy is the same as "diet," and nothing could be further from the truth, especially as far as minors are concerned, since they are growing and need a complete diet, which include fats, sugars and carbohydrates.

This is why the National Association of Pharmacies of Mexico (ANAFARMEX A.C.) and asesoriaenfarmacias.com carry out actions and agreements that favor consumers of "polymeric diets," with products that comply with certifications by the World Health Organization in indexes of correct food tables. Such is the case of generic brand Mixsure that is being positioned in the private market with a high level of competitiveness, given its excellent supply and access in regional pharmacy chains and distributors with national coverage.

The second important issue that food supplements address  and resolve, again according to Medicable, is:Vitamin B12 deficiency 

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient required by the body for processes that include DNA synthesis, energy production, and central nervous system function. Although this vitamin is found in many foods, B12 deficiency is common, mainly due to a restricted diet, malabsorption, some medical conditions, or the use of certain medications, such as metformin, used to treat diabetes.

The ability to absorb B12 from food decreases with age, so deficiency is more common in older adults, although this does not mean that younger people, or even children, cannot develop a B12 deficiency.

Sometimes the diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency is difficult because the symptoms are not specific and can point to many other health conditions. Here are some of the symptoms:

- Fatigue

- Pale or yellow skin

- Headaches or migraines

- Symptoms of depression

- Diarrhea, nausea, constipation and other gastrointestinal problems

- Difficulty focusing

- Swollen tongue or mouth sores

- Burning or stinging sensation in hands or feet

- Cramps or muscle weakness

Foods that provide vitamin B12 are:

- Liver

- Kidney

- Beef and lamb

- Egg

- Milk and other dairy

- Sardine and salmon

If you are vegan or vegetarian, consult your doctor for advice on the best way to obtain an adequate intake of vitamin B12. As we have seen, food supplements, according to the regulatory framework and under medical supervision, are ideal for consumption  by people with nutritional deficits. Some, such as Mixsure, are also appropriate for people who are allergic to gluten and lactose.

Photo by:   Marcos Pascual Cruz

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