Nutritional supplements are products designed to supplement the diet, and they can be a great way to get the essential nutrients that may be missing from your diet. Vitamins and nutritional supplements come in a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and chemicals that are intended to add to the nutrients that people get through their diet. Not only can supplements prevent nutritional deficiencies, but they can also optimize health and improve overall wellness. It is essential to be well-informed about the proper use and benefits of nutritional supplements.
Always take the supplement according to the instructions on the label. For better absorption, some dietary supplements should be taken with food; others may need to be taken on an empty stomach. Fat-soluble vitamins should be taken with a meal that contains some type of fat to facilitate absorption. If you're breastfeeding your baby, you'll need an extra 200 calories in addition to the extra 300 you needed during pregnancy to meet the nutritional demands of your growing baby. We recently partnered with the Council for Responsible Nutrition to better understand global trends in supplementation and how consumers in general use dietary supplements.
According to Brian Wommack, senior vice president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, “It's essential to be well-informed about the proper use and benefits of nutritional supplements. The 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. In most cases, it's best to take supplements with food. Stomach acid helps absorption and fat helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins and certain phytonutrients. Nutritional supplements are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases.
However, they can provide a great way to get adequate amounts of essential nutrients if you don't eat a variety of nutritious foods. It is estimated that 23,000 visits to the emergency department each year are directly related to the intake of nutritional supplements. It is important to understand how to properly use nutritional supplements in order to maximize their benefits. Taking them according to instructions on the label is key for optimal absorption. Additionally, fat-soluble vitamins should be taken with a meal that contains some type of fat for better absorption.
Lastly, it is important to remember that nutritional supplements are not medicines and should not be used as such.