“In addition to vitamins, dietary supplements can contain minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other ingredients”.1

Umbrella
What may the Dietary Supplements Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Supplements
  • Vitamins and Minerals

Definition

What is a dietary supplement?

DotS the definition of a dietary supplement may vary. In FDA 101: Dietary Supplements the (United States) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explain:

“The law defines dietary supplements in part as products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient.” Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet”.2

Foods or Drugs

Can dietary supplements be “foods” not drugs?

Depending on the Country this may vary. In Dietary Supplements Questions and Answers: What Is A Dietary Supplement? the FDA explain for the United States:

Dietary Supplements“Whatever their form may be, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 places dietary supplements in a special category under the general umbrella of “foods,” not drugs, and requires that every supplement be labeled a dietary supplement”.3

Types

What are types of dietary supplements?

The (United States) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) explain:

“In addition to vitamins, dietary supplements can contain minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other ingredients”.4

Forms

What forms may dietary supplements come in?

In Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know the ODS note:

“Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, gummies, and powders, as well as drinks and energy bars”.5

Popular

What are popular dietary supplements?

In Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know the ODS explain:

“Popular supplements include vitamins D and B12; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils”.6

Menopause Symptoms

Is it safe to take dietary supplements to help menopause symptoms?

In Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. Is it safe to take dietary supplements or herbal therapies for my menopause symptoms? the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

Dietary Supplements
“A. No over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplement or herbal therapies have been found to be effective on menopause symptoms. After exhaustive research, NAMS has concluded that only the S-equol derivative of soy isoflavones may be an option, providing there is no history of soy intolerance or allergy, but NAMS advises its use only with caution. Equol is a chemical that has some effects that are similar to the hormone estrogen, but it is much less potent than estrogen. If you still want to try a dietary supplement other than S-equol for your hot flashes, you must continue only with the appropriate oversight of your healthcare provider”.7

Elephants

What may be some elephants in the dietary supplements room?

Dietary SupplementsDotS these elephants may vary. In Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. Is it safe to take dietary supplements or herbal therapies for my menopause symptoms? the NAMS also note:

“A. …Because the normal US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for prescription or OTC drugs do not apply to dietary supplements, demonstrating safety is not required before a dietary supplement is put on the market. Although a number of manufacturers do employ rigorous quality-control measures, many products are not monitored for purity or levels of active ingredients”.8

In Using Dietary Supplements Wisely: What the Science Says About the Safety and Side Effects of Dietary Supplements the (United States) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health caution:

  • “Some dietary supplements may harm you if you have a particular medical condition or risk factor or are taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications. For example, the herbal supplement St. John’s wort makes many medications less effective”.9

In Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Use and Safety of Dietary Supplements – Q. How Do I Know If I Need A Dietary Supplement? the ODS also caution:

“In some cases, dietary supplements may have unwanted effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other dietary supplements or medicines, or if you have certain health conditions”.10

Record

Is it a good idea to keep a record of the dietary supplements I choose to take?

Yes. In Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know – Talk With Your Health Care Providers the ODS explain:

“Keep a complete record of any dietary supplements and medicines you take. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides a useful form, “My Dietary Supplement and Medicine Record,” that you can print and fill out at home. For each product, note the name, the dose you take, how often you take it, and the reason for use. You can share this record with your healthcare providers to discuss what’s best for your overall health. When you see your healthcare provider, you can also bring the products you take”.11

Health Care Provider

What if I choose to take dietary supplements?

If you choose to take dietary supplements it may also be in your best interest to also choose to tell all your health care providers you are doing this.

The ODS caution:

“Do not self diagnose any health condition. Work with your health care provider to determine how best to achieve optimal health and always check with your health care provider before taking a supplement, especially when combining or substituting them with other foods or medicine”.13 

Health Topics A-Z

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In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know. Reviewed: 15 January 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx/ Accessed: 06 April 2020
  2. FDA 101: Dietary Supplements. Content Current As of 15 July 2015. Food and Drug Administration https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm050803.htm Accessed: 06 April 2020
  3. Dietary Supplements Questions and Answers: What Is A Dietary Supplement? Content Current As of: 07 January 2015. Food and Drug Administration https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm100102.htm Accessed: 06 April 2020
  4. Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know. Reviewed: 15 January 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx/ Accessed: 06 April 2020
  5. Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know. Reviewed: 15 January 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx/ Accessed: 06 April 2020
  6. Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know. Reviewed: 15 January 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx/ Accessed: 06 April 2020
  7. Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. Is it safe to take dietary supplements or herbal therapies for my menopause symptoms? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-hot-flashes Accessed: 06 April 2020
  8. Menopause FAQs: Hot Flashes – Q. Is it safe to take dietary supplements or herbal therapies for my menopause symptoms? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-hot-flashes Accessed: 06 April 2020
  9. Using Dietary Supplements Wisely: What the Science Says About the Safety and Side Effects of Dietary Supplements. Last Updated: January 2019. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/using-dietary-supplements-wisely Accessed: 06 April 2020
  10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Use and Safety of Dietary Supplements – Q. How Do I Know If I Need A Dietary Supplement? Reviewed: 01 July 2013. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/ODS_Frequently_Asked_Questions.aspx Accessed: 06 April 2020
  11. Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know – Talk With Your Health Care Providers. Reviewed: 15 January 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx/ Accessed: 06 April 2020
  12. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Use and Safety of Dietary Supplements – Q. How Do I Know If I Need A Dietary Supplement? Reviewed: 01 July 2013. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/ODS_Frequently_Asked_Questions.aspx Accessed: 06 April 2020
Topic Last Updated: 06 April 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 06 April 2020
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