When taken correctly, certain dietary supplements can be beneficial for reducing the risk of certain diseases and providing relief from discomfort caused by certain conditions or medications. These supplements can also improve your quality of life. Most people can safely use dietary supplements, as long as they don't take too much. However, it is important to be aware that many supplements contain ingredients that can have strong effects on the body.
In addition, some supplements may interact with medications, interfere with laboratory tests, or have dangerous effects during surgery. Therefore, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement to determine if it is right for you. For those who are generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, supplements are not necessary. Supplements cannot replace food because they do not provide all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fiber and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables. However, for people with certain health conditions, it may not be possible to get all the necessary nutrients from food alone.
In this case, talking to a healthcare provider about taking dietary supplements can help ensure that you get the right amount of nutrients for your individual needs. It is important to note that dietary supplements are regulated differently than medications by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unlike drug manufacturers, supplement manufacturers do not have to prove that their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market. You can also contact the product manufacturer to find out what research they have done to confirm the benefits of the supplement, what production standards they use, and what side effects have been reported as a result of the product. The FDA also posts recall notices on their website or you can sign up to receive alerts from them about recalls and safety alerts.
When considering taking a supplement, it is important to ask your healthcare provider what benefits and risks it may have, how much you should take, and for how long you should take it. Manufacturers can add vitamins, minerals and other supplement ingredients to the foods you eat, such as breakfast cereals and beverages. If the dietary supplement contains a new ingredient, manufacturers must inform the FDA about that ingredient before marketing it. In addition to vitamins, dietary supplements may contain minerals, herbs or other botanical ingredients, amino acids, enzymes, and many other ingredients. It is especially important for pregnant or breastfeeding women, those who are going to have surgery, or those with health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes to talk to their healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement. Supplements are available for sale without a prescription at your local pharmacy or online without a prescription.
Be aware that even if a product is labeled as a dietary supplement, if it is intended to treat, prevent, cure or alleviate the symptoms of a disease it is considered a drug and must meet all applicable requirements for medications. It is also important to be careful when giving supplements to children unless recommended by their healthcare provider. A patented blend is a combination of ingredients used exclusively by a supplement manufacturer. To file a general non-serious complaint or concern about dietary supplements contact your local FDA consumer complaint coordinator. It is also important to tell your healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists and dieticians) about any dietary supplements you are taking.
Remember that supplements should not replace the variety of foods that are important for a healthy diet. In conclusion, dietary supplements can be beneficial when taken correctly and in moderation. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement in order to determine if it is right for you and how much you should take. Additionally, be sure to read labels carefully and contact the product manufacturer if you have any questions about the safety or efficacy of the product.