What Are Dietary Supplements?

What Are Dietary Supplements?


A dietary supplement is a substance taken orally to boost health. The supplements contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and amino acids. They can also be added to drinks or food. However, they do not substitute for the vitamins and minerals you get from your daily diet.


Depending on the country you live in, there may be different laws governing dietary supplements. For example, in Canada and Australia, supplements are regulated like prescription drugs. In China, the regulations on dietary supplements are relatively strict.


Dietary supplements are often sold with conventional over-the-counter medications. You should consult with your health care provider to decide whether a particular supplement is appropriate for you. Also, check the label on dietary supplements to determine how much of a nutrient you are getting per serving.


Some supplements can be harmful if you take too much of them. You can avoid these dangerous interactions by talking to your doctor. Your physician will be able to tell you if you should take supplements with your prescription drugs. It is also important to discuss the quality of supplements on the market.


Some supplements have a high concentration of active ingredients. These ingredients are powerful in the body and can have very strong effects. But they are not always necessary in a product. Therefore, you should be wary of supplements with too many active ingredients.


Another issue to be aware of is if a supplement is not safe for pregnant women. Unless it has been tested for safety in this population, it is not recommended. Similarly, you should be aware of the risk of supplements in nursing mothers.


The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements is a good source of information. They publish fact sheets that do not endorse specific products or organizations.


Many of the claims made by supplement companies are not backed by scientific proof. So, it is important to choose a supplement that has been proven to be effective. While the dietary guidelines for Americans provide some helpful information, you should still discuss supplements with your health care provider.


There are also some dietary supplements that have been deemed unsafe by the FDA. One example is vitamin A. If you are taking this nutrient at excessive levels, it can cause liver damage and bone mineral density reduction. This is a problem if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.


You should also talk to your pharmacist if you are unsure of the dietary supplements you are taking. Excipients, which bind supplements, can interact with your prescription drugs. You should also be aware of the percentage Daily Value of each vitamin or mineral in the supplement.


Dietary supplements are not approved as drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration. When a new dietary ingredient is introduced, the manufacturer must file a New Dietary Ingredient Notification with the FDA. Additionally, the manufacturer must have a basis for judging the dietary supplement’s safety.

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Although the federal government does not regularly test dietary supplements, the FDA periodically inspects dietary supplement manufacturing facilities to ensure that they are safe. It will also issue warnings on dietary supplements when it receives reports of problems.

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