How Much and What Kind?

Dietary supplements are intended to supply nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids or amino acids that are missing or are not consumed in sufficient quantity in a person's diet.

It is defined as a product intended to enhance the diet intended for ingestion in pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form not represented for use as a conventional food or as the sole item of a meal or diet.

Herbs and other botanicals, amino acids, extracts from animal glands, fibers such as psyllium and guar, and compounds not generally recognized as foods or nutrients such as enzymes and hormone-like compounds are included.

There are thousands of nutritional enhancements on the market today making our choice difficult at times as to whether we need any or what kind to take.


Some questions to ask yourself before taking supplements:

  • Do I need to enhance my diet-and if so, with what kind and how much?
  • Is this vitamin or mineral safe?
  • Does what I am taking interact with any drug or food I am consuming?
  • Does I know enough about this nutritional enhancer and does it have a proven tract record of working?
  • Can I afford the dietary enhancement I am choosing?

Some dietary enhancers may be harmful under some conditions. For example, many herbal products and other "natural" products have real and powerful pharmacological effects that can cause harmful reactions in some people or can cause dangerous interactions with prescribed or over-the-counter medicines.

If you have any doubts about side effects it is vital that you consult your health care provider for advice.


Step into any health food store, drug store, supermarket, or pharmacy and you will be bombarded with dietary supplements claiming to fight free radicals (or aging) and promising health benefits.

The truth is that here in the United States, the Government has had very little control over what is put onto the market today.

Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994 placing nutrition enhancers between food additives which, by law, require testing, and drugs that, also by law, require rigorous testing for efficacy.

Because a nutritional enhancer is not subject to these requirements, there remains a real concern as to the consistency, quality, and percentage of actual vitamins, minerals, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants in the nutritional enhancer.


There are a number of companies providing excellent nutritional enhancer options at reasonable costs. Consider the following tips before buying dietary nutritional enhancers:

  • Think twice about chasing the latest fad. Sound health advice is generally based on research over time, not from a single study.
  • More may not be better. Some products can be harmful when consumed in high amounts, for a long time, or in combination with certain other substances.
  • Learn to spot false claims. If something appears too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Research the quality of the formulary manufacturing the enhancer.

Dietary supplements can be a valuable tool for those with dietary imbalances or different nutritional needs and are an excellent approach to good health, wellness, and longevity for you and your family.

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