Thursday, December 1 2022 - 6:33 AM
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Taking Supplements

There are so many supplements on the market that trying to understand what they are all about becomes quite difficult. And the claims! If you read all of them, you might be tempted to buy and take all of them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding supplements, and trying to determine whether or not taking supplements becomes quite difficult.

Guidelines to Taking Supplements

If you are pretty good but hit and miss healthy meals, a multi-vitamin/mineral may help fill the gap. Avoid high potency supplements unless you are under the care of a doctor or dietitian. Remember, it is important to aim for a healthy diet rather than to depend on supplements to be the foundation of your diet.

Choose supplements that are supported by an established company. Is there an 800 number to call and get additional information about the product? Is there a website to learn more about the product? Make sure the label has the nutrition facts and ingredient listing.

If you choose to take a supplement, read the label and follow the instructions. Taking more supplements than what is recommended on the label may have consequences.

Look for the USP symbol. This will tell you whether or not the product meets standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia.

Some supplements can be taken for special needs. For example, iron supplements may be taken for excessive blood loss during menstruation; calcium supplements and vitamin D may be taken to support bone health among menopausal women; and vegans may need additional vitamin B-12, zinc, and iron.

If you are taking medications, talk to your doctor about your dietary supplements. Make sure there are no interactions between medications and your supplement.

Most importantly, before you begin taking a supplement, do your homework to make sure the supplement does what it says and that the supplement is safe for you. And by all means, eat healthily!

If you liked this, you might also like Beware of Vitamin Supplements 

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

is a dietitian, photographer, and writer in Southern California.

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