When it comes to our health, we all want to make sure that we are taking the right steps to ensure our wellbeing. Dietary supplements can be a great way to supplement our diets and reduce the risk of certain diseases. However, it's important to understand the potential risks and benefits of taking nutritional supplements before making any decisions. In general, most people can safely take dietary supplements as long as they don't take too much.
It's important to talk to a healthcare professional before taking any supplements, as some can interact with medications or have dangerous effects during surgery. For those who are generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, supplements may not be necessary. Supplements should not replace food, as they don't contain 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 nutrients they need from food alone.
In this case, talking to a healthcare provider can help determine how much of a supplement is safe to take based on individual needs. It's also important to tell your healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and dieticians) about any dietary supplements you are taking. The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMP) that companies must follow to help ensure the identity, purity, concentration and composition of their dietary supplements. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it's best to get vitamins and minerals through food rather than pills whenever possible.
Some supplements have been shown to be beneficial for certain population groups, such as folic acid taken by women of child-bearing age to reduce the incidence of birth defects and iron for anemia. The safety of many supplements has not been well evaluated in children and in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine if dietary supplements are effective before they are marketed. Supplements come in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, softgels, powders, sticks, gummies, and liquids. Many doctors warn that supplements should not be taken unsupervised because taking too many can harm the body.
If there is a serious problem associated with a dietary supplement, manufacturers must report it to the FDA as an adverse event. Manufacturers can add vitamins, minerals and other supplement ingredients to the foods you eat, especially breakfast cereals and beverages. Research has not yet found serious health complications from excessive use of melatonin in adults, although an excessive amount of the supplement can cause fatigue and mood swings. Dietary supplement companies must report serious adverse events they receive from their dietary supplements to the FDA within 15 days. It's also important to remember that supplements should not replace the variety of foods that are important for a healthy diet. Supplement companies are responsible for having proof that their products are safe and that the claims on their labels are truthful and not misleading. In conclusion, dietary supplements can be beneficial for certain population groups when taken correctly under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
However, it's important to remember that they should not replace a healthy diet or be taken unsupervised.