Dietary supplements are products that contain one or more dietary ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or other botanicals, that are intended to supplement the diet. They are available in various forms, including pills, capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids.
The use of dietary supplements has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people looking for ways to improve their health and well-being. While supplements can provide a range of benefits, it's important to understand their role in the diet and the potential risks associated with their use.
In the United States, dietary supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA defines dietary supplements as products that are intended to supplement the diet and that contain one or more of the following dietary ingredients:
- Herbs or other botanicals
- Amino acids
- Dietary substances for use by humans to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake
- Concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any of the above
Dietary supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet, but rather to supplement it. They are intended to provide additional nutrients that may be lacking in the diet or to support certain body functions. For example, a person may take a vitamin D supplement to support bone health or an omega-3 supplement to support heart health.
It's important to note that not all dietary supplements are created equal. The quality and purity of supplements can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and the source of the ingredients. Additionally, some supplements may interact with medications or have potential side effects.
To ensure that dietary supplements are safe and effective, it's important to choose products that have been independently tested and certified by a reputable organization, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International. These organizations verify that the supplements contain the ingredients listed on the label and are free from contaminants.
In summary, dietary supplements are products that contain one or more dietary ingredients intended to supplement the diet. While supplements can provide a range of benefits, it's important to choose high-quality products and to use them in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. As with any new addition to your health regimen, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to take any dietary supplements.