What is a dietary supplement?
A dietary supplement is a product consumed via mouth to supplement the needs of dietary intake by means of dietary ingredients. Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars and metabolites. Dietary supplements are available in multiple forms such as tablets, gels, capsules, liquids or powders. They can also come in bar form, but the label information should convey the fact that it is not a conventional food.
Do I need to check with my physician or healthcare provider before taking a dietary supplement?
The ingredients in a dietary supplement are not tested or approved by the FDA and the consequences must be entirely borne by the individual choosing the supplement. Hence, it is better that pregnant and nursing women and people with chronic illness or medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension keep it a policy to check with their healthcare provider or physician before taking any supplements.
Is it practically feasible to achieve all my vitamin and mineral needs from the food I eat?
A well-balanced diet consisting of nutrient-rich food offers the body with all the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other substances needed for good health. It is 100-percent recommended that you try to get all your vitamins and minerals by eating such foods while taking care of the calories consumed and the energy expenditure. Also, there is insufficient evidence to strongly recommend/condemn the use of multivitamins/mineral supplements for preventing chronic diseases.
Will a supplement help me to lose weight?
In general, most supplements have harmful side effects and can even disrupt the functioning of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The regulations imposed for over-the-counter medications are totally different from that imposed for weight-loss supplements and the FDA does not test or approve any of the weight-loss supplements before they are released into the market. It solely depends on the manufacturer’s discretion to ensure that the supplements are safe, true to their label claims and not misleading.