OPINION PIECE..

It wasn’t surprising that the trending hashtag on Nigerian Twitter following the Federal Government’s ease of lockdown restrictions was centered around supplements as “Immunity Boosters.”

In fact, social media platforms, especially WhatsApp and Facebook groups were full of very lengthy posts telling the readers which combinations of vitamins and dietary supplements would boost their immunity against the COVID’19 virus.

The information contained in these posts provided varied greatly from one group to the other and often sketchy with details and evidence to support their claims,

Just like the early days of the outbreak in Lagos, Vitamin C and D alongside trace minerals like Zinc, Calcium, Selenium and Magnesium supplements flew off pharmacy shelves as Nigerians raced to purchase these “Immunity Boosters.

Whether these vitamins and dietary supplements offer any benefit is sometimes difficult to determine and only time in most cases would tell.

The global vitamins and dietary supplements market consists of over 90,000 different products and brands; valued at 140.3 Billion US Dollars in 2020.

So, between the coronavirus pandemic and our increased awareness regarding personal health and wellbeing the market is expected to grow by 8.6% in the coming years as a surge in demand for immune boosting supplements continues to be the trend.

These supplements come as pills/tablets, capsules, chewable, powders, drinks, oils, bars and each claim “a better version of yourself”: with stronger bones, thinner waistlines, flawless skin, healthier intestines, better sex lives with more potent sperm.

They tell of how this product can ensure you stay one-step ahead of age, dodge disease and cheat death! On the whole, we (75% of twitter respondents) believe them. Recent surveys suggest that 33% of Nigerians take at least one supplement and 10% take as much as 3.

But should we? I mean, are we smarter; stronger, faster or in any way healthier because of these daily pills?….

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