Most adults in the U.S. take one or more dietary supplements either daily or occasionally. Vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products are among the dietary supplements of today. Dietary supplemention comes in a multitude of shapes: traditional tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as energy bars and beverages. Vitamins D and E, minerals such as calcium and iron, herbs such as echinacea and garlic, and specialty products such as glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils are popular supplements.

The Dietary Supplement Label

All products labeled as dietary supplements have a Facts panel. The active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients (such as fillers, binders, and flavorings). The supplier indicates the size of the serving, but you or your health care provider may choose to make a distinct quantity more suitable for you.


If you are not eating a nutritious food range, some supplements may assist you to get appropriate quantities of nutrients that are vital. Supplements, however, can not replace the variety of foods important for a healthy diet. The Dietary Guidelines for American External Link Disclaimer and MyPlateexternal Link Disclaimer are good sources of data on eating well.

Scientific evidence indicates that certain dietary supplements are useful for general health and health management. Calcium and vitamin D, for instance, are essential for maintaining powerful bones and decreasing bone loss; folic acid reduces the danger of certain birth defects, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils may assist some individuals with heart disease. To determine their value, other supplements need more study. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine the effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are sold.

Safety and risk

Many supplements contain active ingredients that are capable of having strong body effects. Always be alert, especially when taking a new product, to the possibility of unexpected side effects.

Supplements are most probable to cause side effects or damage when they are taken by individuals instead of prescribed medications or when many supplements are taken in conjunction. Some may increase the risk of bleeding or may affect the person’s response to anesthesia if a person takes them before or after surgery. Dietary supplements can also communicate in ways that may cause issues with certain prescription drugs. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Vitamin K may reduce blood thinner Coumadin capacity to avoid clotting of blood.
  2. St. John’s wort can accelerate the breakdown of many drugs (including antidepressants and pills for birth control) and thus decrease the efficacy of these drugs.
  3. Antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins C and E, may decrease the efficacy of certain cancer chemotherapy kinds.

Keep in mind

The increasing amount of foods, including breakfast cereals and drinks, are being added to certain ingredients found in dietary supplements. As a result, more of these ingredients may be available to you than you think, and more may not be better. It’s always more costly to take more than you need and can also increase your risk of having side effects. Too much vitamin A, for instance, can cause headaches and harm to the liver, decrease bone strength, and cause birth defects. Excess iron is responsible for nausea and vomiting and can harm the liver and other organs.

Be careful if you are pregnant or nursing with dietary supplementation. Also, be cautious to give them to a kid (beyond a fundamental multivitamin/mineral product). Most nutritional supplements in pregnant females, nursing mothers, or kids were not well screened for security.

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