Dietary supplements refer to the vitamins, herbs, and minerals an individual can take to improve one’s health. As the US Food and Drug Administration defines it, “dietary supplements are intended to add to or supplement the diet and are different from conventional food.” These substances come in many forms, such as pills, capsules, soft gels, powders, liquids, and gummies. The common supplements available at most pharmacies are vitamins, minerals, botanicals or herbs and compounds, amino acids, and live microbes.
People of any age can take dietary supplements as these are not drugs meant to treat specific diseases but rather to provide additional nutrients to the body to fill the dietary gap. One can easily find and purchase these supplements in any drugstore.
Americans are known to be enthusiastic about dietary supplements. In a 2019 survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the findings revealed that around 77% of adults in the US take dietary supplements. Women are more likely to consume these supplements, but there is only a short gap between the male population. The survey results also show that adult Americans lean more toward consuming multivitamins.
Multivitamins contain a combination of essential vitamins and minerals. Hence, it is more convenient than taking multiple supplements at a time to get adequate amounts of under-consumed nutrients. It has been known that Americans typically do not get enough calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and dietary fiber. Thus, taking multivitamins has become a staple for many Americans to obtain such essential nutrients for proper functioning. Consequently, in any retail pharmacy you visit, you can find various multivitamins and other dietary supplements from different brands.
It is critical to know, however, that while dietary supplements can help you obtain essential nutrients, such substances do not serve as alternatives for food. People should only take dietary supplements along with a meal. In the same manner, dietary supplements are beneficial to people to avoid diseases (paired with a proper diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle). However, the purpose is never to cure health conditions. Unless, though, the FDA has approved them for a therapeutic claim.
While dietary supplements are undeniably instrumental for keeping your body in good shape, inappropriate intake of such substances can cause unwanted side effects or bad reactions. Side effects are generally observed in people who are taking medication regardless if prescribed by their doctors or over-the-counter or OTC medicines. Take note that several supplements have active ingredients, which can strongly affect your body when the ingredients interact with the medication. The interaction can also influence the medication’s efficacy, and you will not get the desired result from the medicine, as a result.
If you are among the one-third of the American population who take dietary supplements regularly, or you are just about to add taking supplements to your daily routine, let us guide you in getting the most out of your intake. Consider these crucial questions as you continue with your health regimen.
- What are its potential benefits for me?
It is best to consult your healthcare provider regarding your nutrition and seek advice if you should start taking supplements. And if your doctor agrees for you to do so, then ask for a recommendation on what type of supplement and what vitamins or minerals you should get more.
- Does it have any safety risks?
As mentioned previously, supplements can potentially cause adverse effects on your body, especially if you are taking medication along with them. You should consult your doctor or your local certified pharmacist for the safety risks of the supplement you are taking or about to consume.
- What is the proper dose to take?
Dietary supplements must have a label detailing supplemental facts such as the ingredients and the suggested amount per serving or dosage. You can use that as a guide in your intake. But to be safe, it is better to consult your doctor because your physician can recommend a different serving size applicable to you.
- How long should I take them?
Generally, dietary supplements are best consumed every day and continuously. But remember to pair them with a nutritious diet and exercise to get the best health results. However, if you are experiencing some adverse effects, immediately stop taking them. Talk to your doctor about your experience and follow your doctor’s advice. If you are keen on taking supplements, you may switch to a different one, given your doctor approves of it.
Remember that, as the name suggests, dietary supplements are solely to enhance your health and bodily function. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough physical activity are still the best way to remain healthy.
Cavalier Pharmacare is your trusted pharmacy in Martinsville, Virginia. If you need expert assistance with your supplement intake or medication regimen, you can visit us at 806 S Memorial Blvd. Martinsville, Virginia 24112, to talk to our specialists.