Minerals, botanical products, botanical compounds, and amino acids are the most common types of ingredients found in nutritional supplements. Dietary supplements are manufactured products intended to supplement the diet by taking a pill, capsule, tablet, powder, or liquid. They can provide nutrients extracted from food or synthetic sources to increase the amount of your intake. The class of nutritional compounds includes vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and amino acids.
Dietary supplements may also contain substances that have not been confirmed to be essential for life, but that are marketed as having a beneficial biological effect, such as plant pigments or polyphenols. Animals can also be a source of supplement ingredients, such as collagen from chickens or fish. The European Commission has established harmonized standards to help ensure that food supplements are safe and properly labeled. The safety of many supplements has not been well evaluated in children and in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you think you've had an adverse reaction to a dietary supplement, tell your healthcare provider. There has been limited human research on the possibility that dietary supplementation affects disease risk. The claim to supplement with the branched-chain amino acids leucine, valine and isoleucine is to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. There is little evidence of benefits when people who are healthy and have a nutritionally adequate diet consume vitamins as a dietary supplement.
In the United States, it is against federal regulations for supplement manufacturers to claim that these products prevent or treat any disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors supplements to verify the accuracy of advertising and labeling. A high level of dietary supplement use can contribute substantially to nutrient intake in the United States, which could mitigate nutrient shortages and increase the risk of overintake, especially with the simultaneous high use of more than one product. Popular supplements include vitamins D and B12; minerals such as calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and products such as glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.
Products sold as dietary supplements come with a supplemental information label that lists the active ingredients, the amount per serving (dose), and other ingredients, such as fillers, binders, and flavorings. Based on studies conducted by the FDA, it is highly uncertain that selenium supplements reduce the risk of bladder cancer in women. Adults should be aware of the distribution of the amount of dietary supplements used and the most common types of dietary supplements used. As an expert in nutrition and dietary supplements, I recommend consulting with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement to ensure it is safe for you to take.
It is also important to read labels carefully to make sure you understand what ingredients are in each supplement you take. Knowing what types of ingredients are commonly found in nutritional supplements can help you make informed decisions about which products may be right for you.