Dietary Supplements 101

Dietary Supplements can be beneficial for our health but taking supplements can also involve health risks. The U.S. FDA (Food and drug administration) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products before their marketing.

Have you ever heard about supplements or used them? Some dietary supplements need further study and some are easily understood and established. But everyone should know all about dietary supplements. Dietary supplements generally include minerals, vitamins, and herbs. And these supplements are in the form of powder, pill, or capsule.

However, dietary supplements are beneficial for all age groups. But they can also have unwanted side effects such as prescription medicine interactions. Therefore, it’s important to understand the supplements you are taking and why you are taking them. You should talk to your doctor if you are considering taking dietary supplements for your health.

In addition, you should know everything about dietary supplements if you are thinking of considering any supplement. Let’s discuss it in detail.

What are Dietary Supplements?

Dietary supplements are used to meet vitamins and minerals deficiency. It includes vitamins, minerals, botanicals, enzymes, amino acids, herbs, other dietary ingredients. You need to intake these products through the mouth in the form of a capsule, pill, tablet, or liquid form to improve or supplement your diet.

Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements

In America, most adults use dietary supplements for getting nutrition. According to the National Health Survey, 89% of American adults took dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals by giving wellness-related reasons for using them. These reasons are:-.

  • For General wellness or disease prevention
  • To Improve immune function
  • For increase in energy
  • For focusing on all, body, mind, and spirit
  • It improves memory or concentration

What is Superfood Blend?

The term superfood Blend is a unique blend of superfood powders and natural ingredients. This term refers to those superfoods that offer maximum nutritional benefits in minimum calories. The superfood blends are packed with various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to provide various health benefits.

However, there are no standard criteria that classify superfood to any food. However, most superfoods are plant-based.

Various studies have demonstrated that superfoods are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. They help in preventing cancer and coronary heart disease and also improve immunity and decrease inflammation. However, regularly eating fruits and vegetables can also lower the risk of various lifestyle-related health problems such as diarrhea, PCOD, etc.

The nutrients superfoods such as berries, tea, green leafy vegetables, eggs, legumes, nuts seeds, and much more help in providing healthy nails, complexion, nails, hair and increase energy levels. Moreover, they are also helpful in maintaining healthy foods. Similarly, people who are not able to get natural superfoods are recommended to consume superfood blends to get various health benefits.

Should I take Dietary Supplements?

Eating a variety of healthy food which include vitamins, nutrients, and minerals is necessary to meet your health needs.  But some people are not able to get all the nutrients their bodies need.  In such cases, some doctors recommend dietary supplements to fulfill the need for missing nutrients.

Are you thinking about using dietary supplements? If yes, then you need to:


Firstly, you need to learn everything about a dietary supplement. For this, you can talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a pharmacist. Because a supplement may be useful for your friend but may not work for you. However, you can also check the website for detailed information but be aware of the right source while checking information.

Sometimes writers or groups write to get a commission from the sale of a particular supplement.


You need to be aware that supplements can have side effects too. If any supplement is said to be natural does not mean it does not have side effects. It may also be harmful to you if you have any medical history. You should consider it as medicine and intake it when your doctor prescribes you.

Talk to Your Doctor

Consult your doctor or dietician before taking dietary supplements.

Buy Wisely

Always choose the brand of supplement that your doctor, dietitian, or pharmacist recommends. Also, check dietary supplement ingredients before buying. Because some ingredients may be harmful to your body which may not be for others.

Check the science

You should ensure that any claim regarding dietary supplements is based on scientific proof. Also, look for the verified mark on the product. For example, USP (United States Pharmacopeia) verifies the quality, strength, purity, and identity of supplements.

It’s important to note that most supplements have evidence of any health benefit.

Be a savvy consumer

Some advertisements to sell dietary supplements through various mediums- online, in magazines, or on TV promise that dietary supplements will make you feel better from other products. It will keep promises to help you live longer and protect you from getting sick. But you need to know if any science supports these claims or not.

Sports Nutrition Supplements

Sports nutrition supplements include both weight loss supplements and sports performance.  It comes in the form of powder, pills, formulas, and drinks. Sports supplements are not only used to hydrate but to enhance physical performance. Some of these are amino acids, protein formulas, creatine, and fat burners.

You may know the fact that you can’t use a sports supplement only for a week and then expect to gain pounds of muscle with the help of it. However, research shows that if the supplement is used properly with exercise or workout they can provide a slight edge- said Andrew (vice president for regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition)

Some people do not rely on supplements, they try to get all the major nutrients from food. They usually use chocolate milk which works as a recovery drink having carbohydrates, protein, and fluids.

According to Clark: One of the most important sports supplements is creatine. Various studies showed that it can work in muscle cell recovery in athletes. It is helpful for those who engage in high-intensity, short-burst activities like sprinting or weight lifting. She advises you to keep yourself hydrated to avoid cramping.

In addition, stimulants are common ingredients in sports nutrition supplements. Products that have stimulants such as caffeine work as a performance enhancer. But it is not a panacea and it must be part of a fitness routine and healthy diet. You can get all these benefits through supplements but some of its ingredients could be risky even if it’s natural.

Dietary Supplements for Older Adults

As we all know people over age 50 need more vitamins and minerals than younger adults do. Your dietitian or doctor can tell you whether you need to change your diet or you need a specific dietary supplement to fulfill these requirements of your body:

  • Calcium: Calcium works with Vitamin D to keep your bones strong at all ages. Bone loss can lead to fractures in older adults. However, you can get calcium from milk and milk products (prefer fat-free or low-fat milk), canned fish, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, cereals, and much more.
  • Vitamin D: Most people, especially in the United States consume less vitamin D than their body requires. You can consult your doctor to check the deficiency of Vitamin D in your body. Follow what your doctor recommends whether it is Vitamin D supplement or vitamin D-fortified cereals, vitamin D-fortified milk, and milk products.
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is beneficial in forming red blood cells. You can get supplements or fortified cereals, chicken breasts, bananas, and potatoes. You can also take supplements for Vitamin B6 to meet your body’s requirements.
  • Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 keeps our red blood cells and nerves healthy. Older adults need Vitamin B12 as youngsters need. Some people aren’t able to get Vitamin B12 through food therefore they need to consult their doctor to recommend some good supplements or fortified cereals.

Some people are strict vegetarians and vegans who may face a greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because vegetarian sources for this vitamin are limited as compared to animal foods. However, you need to talk to your doctor to know which B12 supplement is right for you.

Supplements 101

What to Look for Before Buying Dietary Supplements?

  • While searching for supplements on the internet, use non-commercial sites such as NIH, FDA, USDA rather than depending on sellers for the right information.

If companies claim that they are good and work better, have no side effects, and are totally safe then you can trust them to some extent.

  • Also, be aware that the term natural doesn’t always mean that it’s safe.
  • You need to ask your doctor or dietitian whether the supplement you’re considering would be safe and beneficial for you or not.
  • Always remember – your health and safety comes first!

You should know:

According to FDA regulations, companies are themselves responsible for having evidence that their dietary supplements are safe for people and ensuring that all the information on labels is truthful and not misleading. Manufacturers are required to produce dietary supplements with natural ingredients without using any chemicals or contaminants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), regulates dietary supplements in which companies are required to submit safety data about any new ingredient not sold in the United States in a dietary supplement before 1994. In other cases, the FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplements before they are marketed.

The FDA can take action against misbranded dietary supplements only after the product is on the market. Once a dietary supplement is on the market, the FDA tracks side effects reported by consumers, supplement companies, etc. If the FDA finds a product to be unsafe, they can take legal action against the manufacturer or distributor and can remove the market from the marketplace.

Benefits of Dietary Supplements

There are various supplements that assure various health benefits of supplements.  Some supplements help in body functioning and others reduce the risk of diseases. However, it’s important to not leave the meal for supplements because it’s essential for a healthful diet. Therefore try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in the meal.

In addition, dietary supplements are not permitted to be marketed for the purpose of diagnosing, treating, preventing, or curing diseases. Moreover, supplements should not make disease claims like treating heart disease or lowering high cholesterol. Because these claims are not legitimately made for dietary supplements.

In the market, various nutrients are available as supplements individually. They are used to treat a deficiency, such as an iron deficiency, or reduce the risk of a medical condition such as hypertension.

For example, a large dose of Vitamin B3 can help raise “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It will also reduce the risk of a birth defect. Similarly, antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements help you reduce the harmful effects of chemotherapy drugs (which helps patients to tolerate larger doses of chemo).

As we discussed above, dietary supplements cannot take the place of a well-balanced diet. People consider it useful because it can provide adequate amounts of essential nutrients when used responsibly inaccurate amounts and if it’s made of natural ingredients and of good quality. The dietary supplements

  • Help in maintaining overall health.
  • Also, support mental health.
  • Improve sports-related performance.
  • Provide immune system support.
  • Weight loss with proper workout or exercise and diet control.

Moreover, its benefits vary from person to person and on the quality of the dietary supplements.

Are There Any Risks in Taking Supplements?

Yes, some dietary supplements contain various active ingredients which may have strong biological effects on the body. It can complicate your health and make them unsafe in some situations.  It will be risky if the following actions could be taken because they are harmful – even life-threatening.

  • If you combine two supplements.
  • If you are using supplements with medicines (without prescription).
  • Substituting supplements for prescribed medicines
  • Taking so many supplements, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, or iron in too much amount. Because overdose of nutrition also has a bad effect on our health.

Moreover, some supplements may have unwanted effects before, during, and after pregnancy and surgery. So, you need to be sure about your health safety. Ask your doctor before using any supplement.

  • What’s printed on the label does not mean you will get the same in the product. For instance, the FDA has found prescription drugs, including anticonvulsants (e.g., phenytoin), anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin), and others, in products being sold as dietary supplements. You should have a look at a list of some of those products on the FDA’s Tainted Supplements webpage.
  • According to a 2012 Government study, there were approx 127 dietary supplements that were marketed for weight loss and claim to support the immune system found that 20 percent of these dietary supplements made illegal claims.
  • Some dietary supplements can harm you if you have some medical history or risk factors. Also if you are taking medications it is risky.
  • If a dietary supplement uses the term “standardized” does not necessarily guarantee the product is high-quality and hygienic.


Dietary supplements are used by thousands of people in the world. These supplements are manufactured to meet the body’s requirements in terms of nutrition and minerals. These supplements usually come in pills, capsules, powder, or liquid form. Some supplements are combined with various vitamins, minerals, protein, and much more. On the other hand, some supplements come individually such as Vitamin A to Vitamin B12, probiotics, protein, acids, etc. their main motive is to fulfill the deficiency of particular vitamins through it.

However, we recommend you not to replace supplements with meals. Try to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables to get a balanced diet of proper nutritional value. Use supplements, if your doctor prescribes. Remember, overconsuming supplements may also affect health badly. Therefore consume as per the body requirement.

In addition, dietary supplements have various health benefits. It can reduce the health risk, cover the deficiency of particular elements such as vitamins and minerals. We advise you to drink lots of water and exercise regularly if you are consuming dietary supplements.

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