Many adults and children in the United States take one or more vitamins or other dietary supplements to improve their health and well-being. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, gummies, powders, energy drinks, and bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and B12; minerals such as calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and products such as glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils. Dietary supplements are not intended to cure diseases or health problems. An exception is if the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it for a health claim.
You can find dietary supplements in many forms, such as pills, gummies, powders, liquids, teas, and bars. Manufacturers can also add vitamins, minerals and other supplement ingredients to the foods you eat, especially breakfast cereals and beverages. Some dietary supplements can help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients if you don't eat a variety of nutritious foods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine if dietary supplements are effective before they are marketed. On the other hand, a dietary supplement can be sold without first having to prove that it is safe and effective, as long as the manufacturer does not claim that it can treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure a disease (in which case the FDA would consider it a drug).
Products sold as dietary supplements come with a supplemental information label that lists the active ingredients, the amount per serving (dose), and other ingredients, such as fillers, binders, and flavorings. Supplements cannot contain anything that poses a known risk of illness or injury when used as directed on the label, or with normal use if there are no instructions on the label. However, supplements cannot replace the variety of foods that are important to a healthy eating routine. This fact sheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides information that should not replace medical advice. Here you'll find detailed information on specific types of cancer, including risk factors, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment options.
The Office of Dietary Supplements website has a helpful form - My Dietary Supplement and Medicine Record - which you can print and complete at home. Some supplements may increase the risk of bleeding or, if taken before surgery, may change the response to anesthesia. The federal government can take legal action against companies and websites that sell dietary supplements when companies make false or misleading statements about their products, if they promote them as treatments or cures for diseases, or if their products are not safe. Tell your healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and dieticians) about any dietary supplements you are taking. Manufacturers may say that a supplement promotes health or supports a part or function of the body (such as heart health or the immune system).
However it is important to remember that dietary supplements cannot replace the variety of foods that are important to a healthy eating routine.