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Tips for Buying Supplements

Tips for Buying Supplements

What are supplements?

Dietary or nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, fiber, herbs, protein, fatty acids, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements are available in several formulations such as powders, liquids capsules, tablets, lozenges, and softgels.

What are some common benefits of nutritional supplements?

Some supplements can restore the deficiency of certain chemicals in the body; others may help reduce the risk of disease. Be aware that natural products are not intended to replace complete meals, and eating a variety of foods is very important.

Are all dietary supplements safe?

No. Many dietary supplements contain ingredients that can modulate body’s functions. This property of supplements can produce unwanted effects, and even can produce toxic symptoms if taken in large quantities e.g. Vitamin A or D.

The best advice for buying or using dietary supplements

  • To get authentic and current information about supplements use not for profit sources or websites (e.g. NIH, USDA, FDA).
  • Be aware that supplements manufacturers are not allowed to market supplements for treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing any health concern. If you find any health claim such as works better than [a prescription drug], cure disease, completely safe, or has no side effects, stay away from these products.
  • Name and address of manufacturer or distributor are always written on the product’s label. Feel free to contact them if you want to know more about that particular product.
  • Any ingredient in a large quantity whether natural or synthetic can cause side effects.
  • Please note that the terms natural or organic not necessarily mean safe.
  • Consult healthcare provider before taking any vitamin, herbs, mineral, or other natural products. Also inform them if you are taking any prescription medicine concurrently with a dietary supplement.
  • Stop using the product if you notice any negative change in your health.

Danish Raza
Pharmacist, PhD
Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, GA, USA

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