When it comes to vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, and other ingredients, dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, such as tablets, capsules, gummies, powders, energy drinks, and bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and B12; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs like echinacea and garlic; and products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils. For optimal absorption of these supplements, it is best to take them with food. Stomach acid helps with absorption, while fat helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins and certain phytonutrients.
To absorb calcium, the body also needs vitamin D. Some foods naturally contain small amounts of vitamin D, such as canned salmon with bones and egg yolks. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods and from exposure to the sun. The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 600 international units (15 micrograms) a day for most adults.
If you think you have had an adverse reaction to a dietary supplement, tell your healthcare provider. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to follow a sensible approach that incorporates a healthy eating plan, reduced caloric intake, and moderate physical activity under the supervision of a health care provider. Women who lose a lot of iron due to heavy menstrual bleeding may need an additional iron supplement, while those going through menopause may need more calcium and vitamin D. It is important to tell your provider about any supplements you are taking as some may interfere with medications.
Chromium picolinate supplementation reduced body weight by 1.1 kg more than placebo, but the amount of weight loss did not correlate with the dose of chromium picolinate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and drugs, but the FDA regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Before making changes to your diet or taking supplements, it is recommended that you check with your healthcare provider. The Office of Dietary Supplements website has a useful form called My Dietary Supplement and Medicine Record which you can print and complete at home.
Compared to placebo, taking calcium supplements for 2 years had no clinically significant effects on weight. This fact sheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides information that should not replace medical advice. Research shows that a dietary component that has an effect on the body may not have the same effect when isolated and taken as a supplement. It is also available in many dietary supplements and is naturally synthesized by humans when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
The jury is out on many supplements, but most experts believe that the products are only useful if you are deficient in a certain nutrient. To be on the safe side, tell your doctor about all the supplements you're taking, even if you think they're harmless. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are recommended folic acid (also known as folate) supplements to reduce the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida.