Are Dietary Supplements Worth it?

By on August 22, 2017
Are Dietary Supplements Worth it?

Every few months there seems to be a new dietary supplement hitting the market, promising all kinds of health benefits. From increasing sexual stamina and curing impotence to boosting energy and helping you lose weight, there seems to be a miracle supplement for any complaint. So, how do you know which dietary supplements can help with your ailments and which are a bust?

What is a Dietary Supplement?

Dietary supplements are created by combining several ingredients with the intent of providing an effect. The ingredients commonly used in dietary supplements include herbs, plant extracts, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals. You can usually find them in liquid, gelcap, softgel, powder, tablet, and capsule forms.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dietary Supplement

  • The Intended Purpose – Every dietary supplement has a claim about what effects it has on the body. Some supplements even have several active ingredients that produce related effects. For example, a weight loss supplement may suppress appetite, improve energy and mood, and boost your metabolism.
  • The Active Ingredients – Sometimes, supplement manufacturers include several ingredients that help achieve the intended purpose. Other times, ingredients are added but not in a large enough amount to have any effect at all. Knowing what the active compounds are allows you to judge if the claims made by the manufacturer are true.
  • The Quantity of the Active Ingredients – When the ingredients are studied, nutritional scientists usually try different amounts of the ingredient. This helps determine what is most effective. When a supplement does not have enough of an active ingredient, it will not work how it is supposed to. Something else to remember is that supplement companies do not have to reveal the amount of each ingredient because they are not regulated by the FDA. If the information is not printed on the bottle, consider contacting and asking the manufacturer for details. As nutritional and dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, supplement testing labs like LabDoor can help you understand exactly what you’re buying.
  • The Science Behind How the Ingredients Work – Before you choose a dietary supplement, do research on exactly how each active ingredient works. Most of the ingredients have been studied for safety, as well as for effectiveness. You can find this information by looking around online or consulting a medical database.
  • If the Supplement Will Interact with Current Medications – If you are already on medication or have a pre-existing health condition you want to try and treat with a supplement, talk to your doctor first. There may be ingredients in the supplement that could interact with any current medications you are taking.

So, Are Dietary Supplements Worth It?

Dietary supplements can be worth it. The secret to choosing a supplement that works is paying attention to the main ingredients and its effects, as well as the science behind how the ingredients work. You can easily find information on how effective the supplement may be online.

Something else to keep in mind is that dietary supplements only work if you follow the dosing instructions. Most supplement manufacturers thoroughly research their products to find the most effective dosage, as well as how often you should be taking the supplement. If you are unsure of effectiveness, or if you are taking a medication to manage your condition, speak with a nutritionist or a doctor who is familiar with the vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other ingredients commonly used in dietary supplements.

The key to success with a dietary supplement is knowing the effects of the different active ingredients, as well as the amounts. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with your doctor if you have any questions.

 

Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations.

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Are Dietary Supplements Worth it?