What are Dietary Supplements? Their Effectiveness and Risks

Posted by Patrick Parker on August 20th, 2019

Taking dietary supplements have become more like a vogue these days. These include vitamins, minerals, herbals, botanicals and more. Some people take enzymes, amino acids and other products. They are available in variety of forms which include capsules, traditionally taken tablets, powders, drinks and energy bars. The most popular dietary supplements are Vitamin E and D containing minerals like iron, calcium and a few herbs like garlic, Echinacea and more. There are some special products also like fish oils, products like probiotics and glucosamine etc. that are immensely popular.

Dietary Supplement Label:

All the products that are labeled as dietary supplement carry supplement panel containing the list of contents that have active ingredients per serving and the added ingredients as well like flavors, fillers and binders etc. Manufacturer can suggest the serving size but it would be your health-care provider that decides which amount will be appropriate.

Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements:

If you are not taking different food varieties, there are some supplements that can help you get adequate amount of nutrients. But, it is good to keep in mind that they cannot replace food varieties. For instance, Vitamin D and calcium are important for keeping your bones strong and reducing the bone loss. Folic acid another important vitamin cuts down the risk of birth defects. Omega-3 fatty acids obtained from the fish oils help people with heart diseases.

Safety and the Risks Involved:

There are plenty of supplements that have active ingredients which can affect your whole body. It is good to be alert of the possible side effects especially in the case when the product is newly marketed. They can have a number of side effects and can prove to be harmful when they are taken in a combination. There are certain supplements that can interact with hthge prescription drugs and can lead to health issues. So, when you choose to buy a supplement it is good to take natural supplements on sale. Vitamin K can prevent the ability of the blood thinner Coumadin that checks blood clotting. These are complex products that can lead to better health.

It is more like a necessity for people who want to build muscles, who want to gain weight or lose weight and more. There are online supplements on sale both online and the retail stores that can be taken to save money. Over and all, it preserves health but should be taken with a great care. Women that are pregnant or nursing should consult doctors first before taking them. Multivitamins and are other types of additional drugs can prove to be dangerous to them and can cause harm either to the mother or growing baby. It is always advised to take these medicines only from certified retailers.

Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving them (beyond a basic multivitamin/mineral product) to a child. Most dietary supplements have not been well tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.

If you suspect that you have had a serious reaction from a dietary supplement, let your health care provider know. He or she may report your experience to the FDA. You may also submit a report to the FDA by calling 800-FDA-1088 or completing a form online. In addition, report your reaction to the dietary supplement company by using the contact information on the product label.


Dietary supplements are complex products. The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements to help ensure their identity, purity, strength, and composition. These GMPs are designed to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging and labeling of a product. The FDA periodically inspects facilities that manufacture dietary supplements.

In addition, several independent organizations offer quality testing and allow products that pass these tests to display their seals of approval. These seals of approval provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants. These seals of approval do not guarantee that a product is safe or effective. Organizations that offer this quality testing include:

  • U.S. Pharmacopeia
  • ConsumerLab.com
  • NSF International

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Patrick Parker

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Patrick Parker
Joined: March 15th, 2019
Articles Posted: 76

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