Dietary supplements are used to support a healthy diet. They can be taken to help your body meet its nutritional needs, to maintain good health, or even to reduce the risk of a disease.
There are many different types of dietary supplements available, including vitamins and minerals, herbs and teas, minerals and trace elements, protein powders and amino acids, essential fatty acids (EFA), carbohydrates and fiber supplements. The most common ones are vitamins and minerals; however, there are other types of supplements that may help you achieve specific goals like weight loss or muscle building.
What Are Dietary Supplements?
A dietary supplement is a product that contains one or more vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, as well as other compounds. The FDA does not require manufacturers to provide evidence that these substances are safe for human use prior to marketing these products. Because of this, there is no oversight of their marketing and sales.
What Are Dietary Supplements Used For?
There are many reasons why people take dietary supplements. Some may take them because they believe they will help them lose weight or improve their health in some way. Others may use supplements for specific medical conditions or for aesthetic purposes. Some people simply find that taking a supplement allows them to eat less food and lose weight at the same time!
Are Dietary Supplements Safe?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This law ensures that these products are safe to use by consumers and provides legal protection to manufacturers who produce them. The FDA works closely with industry groups like the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) to ensure that the labeling on dietary supplements meets federal standards for accuracy and compliance with DSHEA guidelines.
If you take dietary supplements, it’s important to make sure they’re right for you. Be sure to read the label carefully, ask your pharmacist questions about any ingredients — including herbal supplements — and report any side effects to your doctor.
Related: Benefits of Taking Food Supplements
Can I get all the Nutrients I need from a Dietary Supplement?
Yes, you can get all the nutrients you need from a dietary supplement. But first you need to know what those nutrients are.
The body needs vitamins and minerals for many processes in the body. They are used for energy production, cell repair, and other functions. Vitamins come in various forms such as water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins), fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E), and amino acid-rich vitamins (C). Minerals include calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride and phosphorus.
There are several types of dietary supplements on the market today — including pills that contain herbs or plant extracts; capsules made from organic whole food ingredients; topical creams that contain essential oils; and powders that can be mixed with water or juice to make a shake or smoothie.
Do Dietary Supplements Interact with Medications?
The short answer is “no.” Supplements don’t have to be taken at the same time as medicines, and in most cases they won’t affect the amount of medication you take.
However, there are many factors that will change how supplements and medications interact. For example, certain vitamins may be more easily absorbed when taken with other supplements. Some medications can be harmful if they are taken with certain vitamins or minerals.
If you’re taking a prescription drug and decide to add a supplement, talk to your doctor first.
How much of a Dietary Supplement can I Take?
The amount of dietary supplement that you take depends on the type of supplement, your age and health status and your physician’s advice. Some types of supplements have recommended daily doses that are based on weight, while others have recommended dosages based on age or gender. Also, some nutrients are more effective when taken in smaller amounts than when taken in larger amounts. For example, it is commonly recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding do not take any nutritional supplements unless directed by their physician (see “What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and Breastfeeding”).
The supplement industry is massive and it’s constantly growing. It would be impossible to cover all of the information that consumers need on taking or using supplements, so today we will do an overview of some key topics related to supplements. We encourage you to learn more and make educated decisions surrounding supplements.