What are Dietary Supplements?

Dietary supplements are basically proposed to enhance the diet.  It is a composite form of a number of ingredients as vitamin, minerals, botanical herbs, amino acids, extract from animal glands, fibers and other elements. It is available in number of ways in form of pills, powders, liquids and tablets and is labeled under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration check the safety of these foods before it is launched into the market.

Some of the myth associated with food supplements-

  • Dietary supplements are believed to improve performance among athletes, however scientifically it hasn’st been proved. Some supplements are unsafe as they have steroids in large quantities and can be hazardous for health. Creatine and androstenedione are some of them as there is no standard dose of it.
  • Amino acids are consumed for building mass and muscle. Energy bars and fortified drinks are the other sources, as for some may end up adding extra calories in their diet.
  • Similarly herbal weight loss products are no good and can have side effects too. Large doses may prove even deadly.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements can be avoided if food is consumed in balanced way. Avoid higher doses than the RDA approved as excess can lead to trouble.

Effects of dietary supplements?

Dietary supplements works well if one checks into which group they fall and accordingly consumes them.

  • Among athletes nutrition plays a vital role as improper diet may hinder them from giving optimum level performance. They turn to dietary supplements for that extra need as it acts as ergogenic aids. Androstenedione, caffeine, Creatine, DHEA, HMB, tryptophan, vitamin B6, B12, C, E and zinc etc are considered to augment performance in athletes. But they run a high risk of consuming contaminated supplement. Similarly with antioxidants, which is taken to improve, muscles effects the skeletal muscles and causes inflammation.
  • Among obese and overweight people are mostly attracted with this. Some of the dangerous supplements that accelerate metabolism are ephedra and phenylpropanolamine is labeled as unsafe by the FDA. The safety of cola acuminata, dwarf elder, yohimbine and garcinia camborgia has not been established. With the increased market, claims of dizziness, nervousness, tremors, blood pressure, headache, gastroenteritis, chest pain, seizures and stroke has also increased. Slimming teas contain strong laxatives and diuretics.
  • Among older people a well balanced diet is the ultimate answer. Older people are more subjected to poor nutrition due to less intake of food, side effects of drugs and less absorption in body. A daily does of multivitamin and mineral supplement evades the chances of nutritional deficiencies. The supplement should not exceed 100%of the RDA of iron and vitamin A. If under medication discuss with your physician, as most of the supplements are subjected to reaction.
  • Among pregnant mothers the requirements doubles. Vitamins and minerals are important for maintenance of mother’ss health and development of the baby. Folic acid, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, D etc are important constituent of their diet.
  • Among vegetarians dietary inadequacies are common. The array of nutrients is reduced due to choicest food intake and there is a lesser consumption of vitamins and minerals. The vegans have more need of dietary supplements and have to intake vitamin B12, riboflavin, iodine, iron and zinc to make up the losses.



  • Before consuming a supplement it is advisable to consult a doctor and discuss with him about your health condition and any history associated with it.
  • Kids, pregnant women and nursing mothers, chronically ill persons and elderly people consult with a physician before going for a one.
  • Incase of any reactions and side effects inform your doctor immediately.
  • Be alert about supplements that claim to prevent and cure a disease. Also check that FDA approves them. 
  • Some dietary supplements may be harmful as they have dominant pharmacological effects and may cause reactions.
  • Always cross check the manufacturing guidelines, facts and health claims, safety and the current guidelines of dietary supplements before buying.