What You Need to Know About Dietary Supplements
Nutritional or dietary supplements are products that can provide additional nutritional value to your diet. Supplements are available in many forms, including pills. The dietary ingredients they contain may be one or more of the following:
- Amino acids
- Dietary substances
Taking supplements should not be a replacement for eating whole foods. You should always consume a well-rounded diet that contains plenty of fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, legumes and vegetables. However, there may be situations in which you may benefit from using supplements. When used as instructed, supplements can help ensure that you are receiving the necessary amounts of essential nutrients as noted in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The FDA and Supplements
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the most reliable source regarding the safety of supplements. They maintain a record of dietary supplements that are undergoing regulatory review and keep a record of supplements that have been known to cause adverse effects. Before you add supplements to your diet, you may want to look on the FDA’s website for any important news regarding the products.
About Enriched Foods
Enriched is a term that is used to indicate that a particular product has been fortified with additional minerals, protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, or other nutritional substances. For food to be labeled as enriched, it has to adhere to the FDA’s definition of an enriched food. This means it has to contain at least ten percent more of the nutrients than the same type of food that is not enriched.
If you have decided to take a dietary supplement, keep in mind these helpful tips:
- Read product labels very carefully as they provide valuable information such as serving sizes and active ingredients
- Avoid consuming large doses of nutrients by choosing supplements that contain the daily recommended values of multiple vitamins and minerals
- Check the expiration date for the supplements as they can degrade over time and lose their effectiveness
- Be mindful of what you eat as you can easily consume more than what you need of certain nutrients due to enriched foods
When to Take Supplements
Dietary supplements may be ideal for:
- Pregnant women who have to take iron supplements or prenatal vitamins
- Women who experience excessive bleeding during their menstrual periods
- Adults who are at least 50 years old and may require additional vitamin B-12 in their diet
- People who have medical conditions or have undergone medical procedures that affect how their body uses or absorbs nutrients
- Vegetarians or vegans who may consume a limited range of foods
Before you start taking dietary supplements, contact us at Superior Healthcare Physical Medicine to learn which supplements and doses may be appropriate for your situation. We work to help you achieve optimal health and wellness.