Ensure is a brand name given to a group of nutrients that are marketed as supplements. The nutrients are produced by the Chicago based Abbott laboratories. They are available in the liquid form and contain all the constituents required for a balanced diet.The supplements are usually consumed by the patients or given to them through naso-gastric tubes. Individuals, unable to take food voluntarily receive their nutrients via the products. The patients include the aged and infirm or seriously ill apart from people on hunger strikes who are force fed by means of the nutritional supplements.
The products are not used as medicines or prescribed by professionals. They are available across the United States of America and Canada. They is also a high demand for the group of nutritional supplements in Netherlands and Pakistan.
The company made $1 billion by selling the Ensure group of products in 2009. Six different products are marketed by the company under the brand name. The products are available as drinks or shakes with the only exception being the Ensure Vanilla Powder.
History of Ensure Nutritional Supplements
The supplement was introduced in 1973 by Ross Laboratories in USA. The name of the company was changed to Abbott later on. The drink was the first lactose free supplement available in America which catered to a niche group of customers initially. The demand soon grew and the producers of the supplement currently offers six different products in a variety of flavors that include vanilla, rich dark chocolate and strawberry. The nutritional value of each product varies according to its target population.
Products That Maximize Ensure Benefits
- Ensure Nutrition Shake- This is a standard nutritional supplement containing fat, carbohydrates and proteins along with 24 essential vitamins and minerals. It also includes omega-3-fatty acid considered to be good for cardiac health.
- Ensure Plus- This is a high calorie drink recommended for people with low body weight or higher energy needs. It is also considered to be an excellent supplement for people who lack appetite.
- Ensure Immune Health- This product contains various antioxidants and prebiotic fibers which boost the immune system of the body.
- Ensure Bone Health- This particular supplement is prepared according to the Caltrius formula which includes calcium, Vitamin D and protein that is required to develop and strengthen the bones.
- Ensure Muscle Health- This contains HMB, a kind of amino acid metabolite along with additional protein that is essential for building up muscle tissue.
- Ensure Clinical Strength- This is an enhanced product containing more of proteins, antioxidants, and prebiotic fibers. It is believed to be an ideal supplement for patients suffering from malnutrition and low body weight.
- Weight Gain- The drink or shake contains additional calories and nutritive components which ensure weight gain in old and debilitated patients. The product can be chilled to a nectar stage which makes it convenient for people with dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing.
- Balanced Nutrition- The drink consists of every food nutrient including all essential amino acids and minerals. This makes it beneficial for people who cannot take vitamin supplements or have a faulty immune system. Patients with chronic pulmonary diseases and joint diseases can utilize the products to build up their immunity and bones respectively.
- ALA content- The omega fatty acids included in the products can help to improve the blood circulation and accentuate mental acuity. It is also believed to have a positive effect on brain development and general health.
- Food Restrictions- Ensure is one of the very few dietary supplements that can be consumed by individuals suffering from lactose intolerance. It is also gluten free and can provide sufficient nutrition for people with wheat allergy or celiac disease.
- Diet Plans- The drink can be taken along with meals or in between meals. It can also replace entire meals in case of patients who are unconscious or need to be force fed.
Ensure Side Effects
The drink has been associated with a few adverse effects especially when it is administeded by means of a feeding tube. The common side effects of the product include:-
- Vomiting- This can occur when the patient is extremely weak and unable to tolerate the new form of nutrients. Individuals recovering from stroke need to take additional precautions if vomiting occurs as the liquid may pass on to the lungs.
- Diarrhea- The digestive system requires to get used to new foods and the initial intake of Ensure products may result in diarrhea especially if the patient is immobilized.
- Constipation- The passage of stools may not be smooth due to dehydration. Medical advice is required in such cases and intake of water along with the supplement usually conteracts the problem.
The Hunger Strikers protesting at Guatanamo Bay were force fed with Ensure nutritional supplement in 2005.