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Dietary Supplements: 5 Things You Should Know

Dietary Supplements 5 Things You Should Know

‘Dietary Supplements’ are products that are meant to supplement or add to the nutrients you get from your diet. But before you start buying and taking supplements, it’s important to understand what you’re putting into your body. 

Here are 5 things you should know about dietary supplements.

5 Things You Should Know About Dietary Supplements

While it’s best to get your nutrients from a balanced diet, sometimes that’s not possible. ‘Dietary supplements can help fill in the gaps. They can also be beneficial in preventing certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

However, it’s important to note that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet.

01: Regulation of dietary supplements by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements differently than drugs and medical devices.

Dietary supplements are not reviewed for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. The FDA can take action against a supplement only after it has been on the market and has been shown to be harmful. To ensure your safety, the FDA has established regulations for dietary supplements. 

A dietary supplement approved by the FDA that ensures:

  • Identity statement
  • Net quantity statement
  • Nutrition labeling
  • Ingredient list
  • Name and place of business of manufacturer, packer, or distributor
  • Directions for use
  • Supplement facts panel

The FDA monitors the safety of dietary supplements through adverse event monitoring.

02: Benefits and Risks of Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements can have both benefits and risks. Here’s what you need to know:

Dietary supplements can provide several health benefits, 

  • Improved immune system function
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases
  • Improved mental health

Along with their benefits, dietary supplements also come with risks. Some common risks include:

  • Interactions with medication
  • Side effects such as upset stomach or headache
  • Overdose, especially with fat-soluble vitamins

Dietary supplements can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements

03: How to Choose a Quality Dietary Supplement

With so many supplements on the market, it can be hard to know which ones to choose. Here’s what you need to do to choose a quality dietary supplement:

The Importance of Reading Labels on Dietary Supplements

Reading the label of a dietary supplement can help you determine its quality. Look for the following:

  • Third-party certifications
  • The serving size
  • The amount of active ingredient
  • Any potential allergens

Certifications to Look for When Choosing a Supplement

Some certifications to look for include:

  • NSF International
  • USDA Organic
  • US Pharmacopeia

Researching the Companies Behind Dietary Supplement

Research the company that makes the supplement to ensure it has a good reputation and follows quality manufacturing practices.

How to Shop for a Quality Dietary Supplement

Shop for dietary supplements at reputable retailers and avoid buying from unknown or untrusted sources.

04: Popular Dietary Supplements and Their Benefits

Here are some popular dietary supplements and their benefits:

1. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. They can be found in food or taken as supplements.

2. Herbal Supplements

Herbal supplements are made from plant extracts and can be used to support overall health. Some commonly used herbs include:

  • Echinacea
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Saw palmetto

3. Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics and prebiotics are beneficial bacteria and types of non-digestible fiber, respectively, that can help improve gut health.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that the body needs for brain function, heart health, and more. They can be found in fatty fish or taken as a supplement.

5. Protein Supplements

Protein supplements can be used to support muscle growth and repair. They are often used by athletes and bodybuilders.

05: Dietary Supplements for Specific Health Concerns

Dietary supplements can be used to support certain health concerns. Here are some examples:

Dietary Supplements for Heart Health

  • Fish oil
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Garlic

Dietary Supplements for Joint Health

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Turmeric

Dietary Supplements for Brain Health

  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Dietary Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

  • Ashwagandha
  • Valerian root
  • Lavender

Final Thoughts

Dietary supplements can offer many health benefits, but they are not a cure-all. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle as well. It can be a helpful addition to your health regimen, but it’s important to do your research and choose wisely. Remember to always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. 

FAQ’s

What are dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements are products that are meant to supplement the nutrients you get from your diet.

How can I know if a dietary supplement is safe?

Look for third-party certifications and do research on the company that makes the supplement.

Which dietary supplement is the best?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Choose a supplement that is appropriate for your needs and follow the recommended dosage.

Can I take dietary supplements with my medication?

Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, as they can interact with medication.

Are dietary supplements necessary for good health?

While it’s best to get your nutrients from a balanced diet, supplements can fill in the gaps and provide additional health benefits.

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