What are the advantages of using dietary supplements?

Dietary supplementsThroughout our lifetimes, our bodies require a steady supply of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for optimal health. However, getting all of the nutrients you need from diet alone can be difficult.

Despite the fact that dietary supplements cannot replace healthy, well-balanced eating habits, they can provide adequate amounts of essential nutrients when used responsibly. Almost three-fifths of Americans consume supplements monthly for their health and wellness.

If you are a well-informed consumer, healthy diet supplements can play an important role in a lifestyle. Here are some questions and answers regarding what you need to know to choose and take dietary supplements properly.

What are dietary supplements?

Products containing vitamins, minerals, agricultural or natural components, amino acids (the building blocks of good proteins), and enzymes constitute nutritional supplements (complex healthy proteins that quicken biochemical responses). They are frequently available in numerous forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids.

Nutritional supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration despite the fact that they are neither drugs nor disease treatments.

Are nutritional supplements safe to consume?

Consumers must be reassured that nutritional supplement manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products and must comply with a number of quality standards in the production and labeling of their products.

Before using a dietary supplement, it is essential to gather as much information as possible about it. While the Internet can provide a wealth of useful information, it is frequently difficult to determine whether the information is accurate. Remember the basic rule that if anything seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any questions, you can always contact your healthcare practitioner or the manufacturer of the device directly.

If a major problem with a dietary supplement occurs, such as adverse effects, suppliers must report it to the FDA as a harmful event. The FDA has the authority to remove nutritional supplements from the market if they are shown to be dangerous or if their labels include inaccurate or misleading information.

Who benefits from nutritional supplements?

People take nutritional supplements for a variety of reasons, including:

  • maintain their basic health and well-being.
  • improve both psychological and athletic performance
  • Support the body’s immunological system.

Certain people may require them specifically, such as:

  • Females Who Are or Could Become Pregnant: To prevent birth abnormalities, women who may get pregnant should consume 400 micrograms of folate per day through diet or supplements. Folate is a B vitamin required for the production of genetic material, including DNA. It is available in prenatal supplements that may also contain beneficial levels of iron and calcium.
  • Adults over 60: As we get older, we may require more minerals and vitamins than younger people.These may include calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone strength; vitamin B-6, which helps build red blood cells; and vitamin B-12, which helps maintain neurons and red blood cells.
  • Individuals with Food Allergies or Dietary Restrictions—If you are vegan, have food allergies or lactose intolerance, or have trouble digesting or absorbing nutrients, dietary supplements may offer you vital benefits.

Should I consult my physician regarding nutritional supplements?

When being treated for a health condition—such as heart problems or high blood pressure—or if you are pregnant or could become pregnant, it is also essential to inform your healthcare provider of the nutritional supplements you are taking.

Dietary supplements may conflict with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications you are taking; therefore, it is essential to consult a specialist who understands the overall picture. Your healthcare practitioner can assist you in determining the optimal supplement for you.

The short answer is yes! While nutritional supplements are readily available without a doctor’s prescription, there are key considerations that exclude them from the discussion.

How can I find out more about the nutritional supplement I am taking?

The product’s label is a fantastic starting point. The FDA requires all dietary supplements to include particular information on their labels, including a list of active ingredients and a “Supplement Facts” label.

The “Supplement Facts” label contains a Daily Values (DV) table that indicates how much of your daily requirement each nutrient provides. If the label states 80% DV for Vitamin C, that indicates that a single serving provides about 80% of the recommended value for Vitamin C. The values are based on a typical daily intake of 2,000 calories; therefore, consider them to be a quotation. The label will also indicate the correct portion size, which you should take seriously.

Recent revisions to the “Supplement Facts” label have been mandated by the FDA for all nutritional supplement producers. These modifications are intended to provide you with the knowledge you need to make educated decisions regarding your health.

  • New Daily Values (DVs) that reflect the most recent nutrition science and modify the American diet
  • Now, vitamins A, D, and E will be measured in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg).
  • Folate will be supplied and measured in micrograms (mcg) of nutritional folate equivalents (DFEs).
  • For goods that include sugar, the quantity and %DV will now be displayed.

Consult your healthcare provider for more information on these label revisions.

It sounds like a lot to remember, doesn’t it? Keeping a daily record might be an effective method for staying on target. Downloading this form will allow you to construct a comprehensive list of your medications and supplements, including dosage and administration schedules.

Are there any adverse effects to watch out for when consuming dietary supplements?

Prior to using a dietary supplement, it is essential to get as much information as possible about it. Women Who Are or Could Become Pregnant: To prevent birth defects, women who may get pregnant must consume 400 micrograms of folate daily, either through diet or supplements. The “Supplement Facts” label contains a Daily Values (DV) table that indicates what percentage of your daily requirement each nutrient provides. The label will also indicate the correct serving size, which should be taken carefully.

Document a problem. Inform your physician of any side effects you notice while taking a dietary supplement. The FDA also requests that you notify them if you develop an issue or disease as a result of using such a product.

Importantly, a doctor or nurse can help you figure out if a nutritional supplement might interact with a drug you’re already taking.

Reduced risks are associated with using nutritional supplements as advised, according to all requirements, and consulting with your physician. Some nutritional supplement adverse effects include stomach distress, heartburn, gas, and bloating.

If you do not follow the rules, you will experience a plethora of health problems. Nausea, blood loss, frustration, and liver damage are some of the potential side effects of improper use.

Inform your physician of any issues you notice while taking a dietary supplement.


Stephany Bennett
Dr. Stephany Bennett is a registered nutritionist with an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. She uses her research background to provide evidence-based advice on diet for pregnant women. She is a firm believer that nutritional science is an ever-changing field, so her pregnancy diet recommendations combine classic methods with the latest findings.

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