What are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are products that people add to their diets. They include vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids, but they can also be pills, liquids, or powders.
By law, companies that make these products cannot claim they prevent, treat, or cure disease. For example, a product cannot claim that it can "cure cancer" or "help you lose weight."
Can dietary supplements be taken instead of eating certain foods?
The short answer is no. You shouldn't take supplements instead of eating healthy foods. However, some dietary supplements may help some people get enough essential nutrients to improve their diets and be in their best health.
If you are having surgery, taking other supplements or medicines, or have health problems dietary supplements may be harmful.
Should I check with my doctor before using a supplement?
Yes, dietary supplements should not be used instead of prescription medicine. If you have health problems and take these products, you may put yourself at risk.
Talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you:
- are pregnant or nursing a baby
- take other supplements or medicines
- are having surgery
- have diabetes
- have high blood pressure
- have any other health problems
Is it safe to take dietary supplements with other medicines?
Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse before you take any dietary supplement. These products may have risks. They could be harmful or life-threatening if:
- You are also taking other dietary supplements
- You are also taking other prescription or over-the-counter medicines
- You use them instead of medicine that your doctor prescribes
How are dietary supplements regulated?
Dietary Supplement regulations are similar to food regulations. This means that the FDA does not approve dietary supplements before they are sold. Also, the FDA can only take action against products that are not safe or products that make false claims after they are for sale.
Where can I learn more about a certain product?
You can reach out to the company that makes the product, and it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
SOURCE: Medline Plus