What do supplements do for the body?

Common supplements include vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, also known as botanicals. People take these supplements to make sure they get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health. For example, calcium and vitamin D can help strengthen bones, and fiber can help maintain bowel regularity. While the benefits of some supplements are well established, other supplements need to be further studied.

Also, keep in mind that supplements should not replace the variety of foods that are important for a healthy diet. Using supplements properly can help you avoid the side effects and toxicities associated with overconsumption. If you have a general, non-serious complaint or concern about dietary supplements, contact your local FDA consumer complaint coordinator. Always tell your healthcare provider about all the supplements you are taking, as some may interfere with medications.

For a healthy adult, if supplements are used, they should generally be taken at levels close to the recommended daily dose. Supplements are ingested and come in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, soft capsules, gel capsules, powders, bars, gummies, and liquids. Dietary supplements include amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes, probiotics, herbs, botanicals, and animal extracts. If you experience an adverse effect while taking a dietary supplement, stop using it immediately, seek medical attention or advice, and report the adverse effect to the FDA.

To ensure maximum safety and quality, choose supplements that have been tested and approved by a certification body such as the U. The body absorbs food-source folate better in its synthetic form (in a supplement or in a fortified food). In general, even if a product is labeled as a dietary supplement, a product intended to treat, prevent, cure, or alleviate the symptoms of a disease is a drug and is subject to all requirements that apply to medications. If you think you might be lacking certain vitamins and minerals, you might be better off considering changing your diet and lifestyle rather than opting for supplements.

Interestingly, regardless of how they find the information, 77% said they would like to learn more about the health benefits of different vitamins and supplements to improve their well-being. Animal foods are also good sources of vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and calcium, so we recommend that you consider taking these supplements if you consume little or no animal foods. Your health care provider can tell you if you need specific supplements to treat a medical condition or to correct any deficiencies. When vitamins are taken in supplement form, they are introduced into the body at levels that could never be achieved with the healthiest diets.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, any product you take to supplement your diet is considered a dietary supplement.

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