How do you know if you need a dietary supplement? Many products are marketed as dietary supplements, and it's important to remember that supplements include not only vitamins and minerals, but also herbs and other botanicals, probiotics, fish oil, and other substances. Some supplements can help ensure that you get the right amounts of essential nutrients or help promote optimal health and performance if you don't eat a variety of foods, as recommended by MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, dietary supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. In some cases, dietary supplements can have unwanted effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other dietary supplements or medications, or if you have certain health conditions.
Don't self-diagnose any health problems. Work with your healthcare provider to determine the best way to achieve optimal health. Also check with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you are taking any medications or other dietary supplements or if you have any health conditions. For a list of all the vitamins and minerals and how much you need, check out the US free online tool.
Just enter a few facts about yourself, including your age, height, and weight. You can also get a list of your daily calorie, protein, and other nutritional needs. Keep in mind that the amounts of vitamins and minerals you need include everything you get from food and beverages; you may or may not need a dietary supplement to reach these amounts. Talk to your healthcare provider to help you determine what supplements, if any, might be valuable to you.
For more detailed information on each vitamin and mineral, read our vitamin and mineral fact sheets. In addition, you can get good sources of information on how to eat well in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and in ChooseMyPlate. Scientific evidence supporting the benefits of some dietary supplements is available; however, the manufacturer does not have to prove that the supplement is effective, unlike medications. The manufacturer may say that the product addresses a nutrient deficiency, supports health, or reduces the risk of developing a health problem, if true.
If the manufacturer makes a claim, it must be followed by the following statement: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Dietary supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. Supplements should not replace prescription drugs or the variety of foods important to a healthy diet.
All products labeled as dietary supplements carry a complementary information label similar to the nutrition facts label found on food products. List the active ingredients and their quantities, as well as other added ingredients such as fillers, binders and flavorings. It also provides a suggested serving size, but you and your healthcare provider may decide that a different amount is more appropriate for you. On the supplement information label, the amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, such as dietary fiber, are listed as a percentage of the daily value or %DV.
Each nutrient has a DV that applies to all people aged 4 and over. For example, the DV of vitamin C is 90 milligrams (mg) and the DV of vitamin B biotin is 30 micrograms (mcg). The %DV allows you to see how much a product contributes to your approximate daily needs for that nutrient. For example, if a supplement provides 50% of the recommended daily dose of calcium, it provides approximately half of the daily calcium requirement.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a website that describes the nutrition facts label and the DV in more detail. Many terms are used to refer to the amount of a particular nutrient (such as calcium or vitamin D) you should eat or the amount of a food or dietary supplement. The two most common are the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and the Daily Value (DV). The recommended daily doses of a nutrient are the recommended daily intakes for healthy people.
They tell you how much of that nutrient you should consume on average each day. RDAs are developed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. They vary depending on age, gender, and whether a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding; therefore there are many different recommended daily doses for each nutrient. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are used on the labels of foods and dietary supplements.
For each nutrient there is a DV for everyone over 4 years old. Therefore the daily doses are not the recommended intakes but rather suggest the amount of nutrient that a portion of food or supplement provides in context with total daily diet. DVs tend to equal or exceed recommended doses for most people but not in all cases. The dietary supplement label database has a web page that lists daily values for all nutrients.
Our bodies require vitamins and minerals for many functions such as breaking down food we eat producing bones and DNA helping muscles contract etc. To make sure we get enough vitamins and minerals without getting too much our bodies have upper limits (ULs). ULs are maximum amounts for each vitamin mineral that we should consume from food beverages fortified foods dietary supplements etc. ULs vary depending on age gender etc.
ULs can be found on websites such as Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health. Whatever your choice supplements shouldn't replace prescription drugs or variety foods important healthy diet. Work with healthcare provider determine best way achieve optimal health. Also check with healthcare provider before taking supplement especially if taking any medications other dietary supplements have any health conditions.
Read our vitamin mineral fact sheets get good sources information how eat well Dietary Guidelines Americans ChooseMyPlate.