Health Supplements Review: A Step-By-Step Nutritional Supplements Guide

Nutritional Supplement Guide
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

A Step-By-Step Dietary Nutritional Health Supplements Guide

When nutrition products were introduced in the early 1940s, a lot of people have turned to them for several different reasons. Nutrition products have claimed, and some have proven*, to provide the nutritional needs of people such as vitamins and minerals. A study has shown that more than 40% of men and women are taking nutrition products. Which poses this question: just how much of these products are safe and effective in helping us successfully maintaining our health?

What are Nutrition Products?

Nutrition products are products which include the following: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and enzymes. The most common type of nutrition products are dietary supplements which provides* either a small dosage or the complete dosage of the required daily nutrients and vitamins. Nutrition products are most commonly marketed in the form of ingestible capsules, tablets, powders and liquids, but there are also other products which may be absorbed intravenously. Aside from the common dietary supplements, growing in popularity are the multivitamins/minerals (MVMs). These products are a combination of different vitamins and minerals which presents for different purposes and use.

Vitamins

As compared to macronutrients, vitamins are micronutrients or substances used by the body in small amounts. Vitamins are ever present in natural foods, but several factors affect the quantities of vitamins in foods. Processing of grains into flour may reduce* the vitamins, fibers and minerals found in it. Vitamin deficiency may lead to illness and disease because the body needs vitamins to for the natural biochemical functions. Vitamins are either water-soluble (B-complex or Vitamin C) or fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E and K). Vitamins which are fat-soluble remain in the body longer because they are stored in the body’s fatty tissue.

Know About Health Supplements

Minerals

Minerals are micronutrients and are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Cells in the body require minerals as part of their basic make-up and chemical balance, and minerals are present in all foods. Minerals can either be used by the body in larger quantities (bulk minerals) or used by the body in minute or trace amounts (trace minerals). Bulk minerals include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Trace minerals include iron, zinc, selenium, iodine, chromium, copper, manganese and others.

Sports Nutrition and Other Forms of Nutrition Products

Nutritional supplements may be designed to provide specialized support* for athletes. Some of these consist of high-protein products such as amino acid supplements, while others contain nutrients that support* metabolism, energy, and athletic performance and recovery. Sports drinks contain blends of electrolytes (salts) that the body loses during exertion and sweating. Weight loss* supplements, body building supplements and performance enhancement supplements are also included in this category. The most common ingredients for these supplements include protein, creatine, and fat burners. Body building supplements may be effective, however reports have surfaced that dietary supplements has caused liver damages in a growing number of individuals.

Nutrition Product Business Continues To Thrive

The biggest reason why people consume nutrition products is to increase* or supplement their daily nutritional requirement. Dietary supplements circulating in the market claim* to provide additional nutrients that can help individuals maintain robust health, lose* weight, improve* immune function, and improve* physical performance or even improve* sexual performance. Also growing in popularity is sports nutrition. In 2015, it was reported that the market for sports nutrition is at a staggering $16 billion, 70% of which is from sports protein powders.
Although studies show that some of these nutrition products may help lower the risks of diseases, nutrition products must not be taken to prevent and cure* diseases or to replace drugs prescribed by healthcare providers.

Factors Affecting The Body’s Nutrient Intake

Current data shows that the average diet in Americans may meet average requirement for certain nutrients; however, a lot of other nutrients are still under consumed, such as vitamins A, D, E and C, potassium, dietary fiber, choline, magnesium, and calcium. The underlying reason for this is the unhealthy eating habits of individuals. Because an average person consumes less* than the required or suggested nutrients and vitamins intake in a day, dietary supplements have been introduced in the market to supply the nutrients which may be lacking in an average individuals’ diet.

Aside from unhealthy eating habits, foods may also lack nutrients they contain due to the several other factors. Soil quality affects the levels of nutrients produced by crops, as it helps plants absorb water, oxygen and nutrients which are required for the plants to grow and produce* its own fruit. Storage time may also decrease* the nutrition levels of fruits and vegetables, from harvest to shipping and shelving in stores and markets.

Surprisingly, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables which are free from salt and sugars are even proven* to contain more nutrients than produce* from the market because the nutrients from canned produce* are prevented from oxygen deterioration. Moreover, produce* from retail stores and markets spends more time before consumers actually buy them, and when consumers do, it may take additional days before consumers actually eat this produce*.

Processing and production of foods may also decrease* the levels of nutrients that fruits and vegetables contain.
In addition, an individual’s age affects his/her nutrition intake. For example, people aged 50 and above may have problems absorbing vitamin B12, therefore, they may need dietary supplements to obtain the recommended daily levels.

Additionally, other health conditions may cause nutrition inadequacy. These health conditions are commonly referred to as malabsorption, or the inability of the body to absorb the nutrients that you need from foods. Individuals with iron deficiency anemia may have problems absorbing iron due to intestinal problems. In these cases, the most popular and effective measures that doctors suggest to obtain recommended levels of nutrients is taking dietary supplements.

What Are The Risks of Nutrient Deficiency?

Nutrient Deficiency Info

The most common nutrient deficiencies are the following:

1. Hypocalcemia, or the disease of calcium deficiency can cause hair and nails to become weak, and lead to memory loss and seizures. Calcium is the main nutrient for maintaining bone and teeth health. It also helps in stabilizing the blood pressure. Calcium deficiency may be caused by aging, menopause, hormone disorder, malnutrition and malabsorption. The other symptoms of calcium deficiency include muscle spasms, tingling and numbness of extremities, depression and hallucinations. If calcium deficiency is left untreated, it may lead to eye damage and osteoporosis, with the latter leading to spinal and bone fractures. Calcium deficiency may eventually lead to death if left untreated.

2. In order for the body’s metabolism to function well, the body uses magnesium. Magnesium functions to help the body detoxify and purify blood. The primary cause for metabolic deterioration is attributed to magnesium deficiency, which in turn, can lead to higher risks for health problems.

3. It has been common knowledge that sun exposure provides* the body with vitamin D. However, due to the high levels of UVA and UVB in the sun rays, there is a tendency for people to opt to use sunscreens. These sunscreens block a wide spectrum of sun rays, which also blocks the vitamin D absorption during sun exposure. Considered in the higher-risk populations are elderly and people with darker colored skin. Vitamin D deficiency may show through the following signs: obesity, achy bones, feeling blue, head sweating, and poor immune function. When making sure to obtain sufficient levels of vitamin D, it is important to note that processed foods may contain herbicide glyphosate which interferes with enzymes responsible for activating vitamin D in the liver and kidneys.

4. Vitamin E protects* the body from free radicals which damage the cells from within, and prevents the effects of aging. Although rare, vitamin E deficiency can cause muscle damage, vision problems, and weakened immune system.

5. Vitamin K2 is a significant nutrient helping improve* health of bones, arteries and blood vessels, assist in cell renewal and growth, healthy pregnancy and cancer prevention. Vitamin K2 works best when taken with vitamin D, magnesium and calcium. Vitamin D deficiency may impair the biological action of vitamin K2.

6. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamine, is commonly referred to as the energy vitamin. It helps in the production of energy, formation of blood, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation. A person can tell if he is deficient in vitamin B12 only after a number of years, as vitamin B12 deficiency does not immediately show. The following symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include memory problems, mood swings, fatigue, weakness and tingling in the extremities, and these symptoms may signal that a person is highly deficient in vitamin B12.

7. The deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids is listed as the sixth biggest killer in Americans. Since the average American diet includes lots of processed vegetable oils, which contain Omega 6 fats, Americans have higher risks for developing cancer, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, it has been found that imbalance between Omega-3 fats and Omega-6 fats may cause depression, Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Flaky skin on the backs of arms, dandruff and dry hair, soft brittle nails, fatigue and poor attention span are the most common signs of Omega-3 deficiency.

8. Iodine deficiency affects the thyroid function and the metabolism. It may also cause cancer. The following signs suggest deficiency in iodine: dry mouth caused by inability to produce* saliva, dry skin due to the damaged tissues, lack of sweating, reduced* alertness and lowered IQ and fibromyalgia.

9. Iron is contained in numerous proteins and enzymes, and it is shown to transport oxygen to regulate cell growth. It also provides* hemoglobin, the protein in the red blood cells, and without iron and proper oxygenation, the cells in your body may die quickly. Iron supplements may be taken to satisfy hemoglobin requirement. Common signs of iron deficiency include fatigue, weak immunity, or iron-deficiency anemia which is most common in premenopausal women.

When taking iron supplements, it is important to note the recommended levels of intake because large volumes of iron can be dangerous as well. If the intake of iron surpasses the required amount for the cell oxygenation, excess iron can create a buildup in your body that may cause serious health problems because iron may speed oxidation and the formation of free radicals that damage your cells. These free radicals may also damage your DNA.

10. Choline helps improve* brain development. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps maintain the health of cell membranes. The most common signs of choline deficiency include memory problems and lethargy.

Natural Sources for Nutrients

Sources for Nutrients Info

The optimal source for nutrients is still natural foods, even when compares to “all-natural” supplements. Here are the basic sources for nutrition:

Milk from plant-fed cows is the best source for calcium. Milk contains the following nutrients: calcium, vitamin D, iodine and choline.

Sardines are packed with healthy nutrients which include calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, choline and vitamin B12.

Seeds also contain nutrients. Magnesium can be found in pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin E. Flaxseed contains a healthy amount of omega 3 fatty acids.

Like seeds, nuts are packed with nutrients. Almonds and hazelnuts contain vitamin E, while walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and vitamin D.

Another natural food which boasts of several nutrients is spinach. It contains magnesium, vitamins A and E, and folic acid.

Fermented foods are rich in vitamin K2. Examples of fermented food include natto, raw butter and certain cheeses. The bacteria responsible for the fermentation process also produce* vitamin K2.

Other sources for vitamin A include tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe. Oysters, chicken livers and turkeys provide a healthy amount of iron, while calcium can be found in numerous natural foods such as green leafy vegetables, yogurt, wheatgrass, seaweed, and beans.

Who Regulates Nutrition Products In The Market?

By law, the U.S. Food and Drug Authority do not have the authority to approve the safety and effectiveness of nutrition products before it is introduced to the market. This is contrary to drug products which must have FDA approval before distribution and sale. However, manufacturers and distributors are now required to send reports of Adverse Event Reactions to the FDA, thanks to the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act passed in the late 2016. Adverse Event Reactions may include any reports of serious side effects, hospitalization and deaths of individuals who have consumed a certain nutrition product. When a product is released to the market, FDA only becomes responsible for checking the risks of the product, and only then can they take carry out steps to restrict the sale of the product or remove* it from the market. If a product label does not reveal the exact ingredients used to manufacture the product, the product will be considered illegal, and the FDA may take action to pull out these products from the market.

Moreover, FDA rules for the manufacturing of nutrition products do not cover suppliers of raw ingredients. For example, a lot of nutrition products companies obtain their raw ingredients from China. However, farmlands from China have been shown to be highly contaminated with toxic heavy metals. Because FDA does not investigate the raw ingredients prior to manufacturing, numerous nutrition products have been introduced to the market which may contain pesticides, heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and other contaminants.

In 2013 alone, 3,289 AERs mandatorily submitted to FDA. This alarming number does not even include reports headaches and other mild adverse effects. Due to a growing number of reported AERs, independent institutions and organizations have offered to test the safety and effectiveness of nutrition products. The tests determine if the products were properly manufactured, if the ingredients listed on the product’s label are exact, and ensuring* that the products do not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a nonprofit organization which tests nutrition products to identify their strength, quality, purity of food ingredients and the dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. The standards set by USP are enforceable in the US by the FDA, and used in over 140 countries. A product with USP Seal of approval means it has passed the rigorous testing of the organization.

ConsumerLab.com
ConsumerLab.com, LLC is another independent organization that seeks to provide consumers and healthcare professionals with the information they need in choosing the right nutrition products. The results of this organization’s test are published on its website. The CL Seal is one of the most trusted seals of approval cited by media, books and professional meetings. Companies may request to test their products to be included in the list of Approved Quality products. Products are tested for their identity as represented by their label: strength (ingredient claimed on the label), purity (free of specified contaminants), and disintegration (breakdown of products so that it may be used by the body). Manufacturers and distributors of failing products may request a summary of the test results. Brands that pass the Quality Certification Program are posted on CL’s website, and manufacturers may opt to purchase CLs Seal of Approval to include on their product labels, packaging, promotion and advertising. These seals expire in twelve months, and the product must be re-tested by CL in order to continue use of the CL Seal of Approval.

NSF International
NSF International tests and certifies nutrition products. Instead, they provide testing to created standards and certifications for food, water, and other consumer products.

National Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD)
Since its release in September 1999, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD) has provided the public with well-researched information about nutrition products in the market. In the mid-1990s, the organization has received lots of queries and concerns regarding the safety of natural medicines, information and studies of which were limited at the time. NMCD lists in their website a report of different brand products that state their safety, effectiveness, drug interactions, and adverse effects for each ingredient contained in the product. The USP and NCMD have collaborated to keep the database updated almost every day.

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The Safest and Most Effective Supplements

The above mentioned independent organizations have provided rigorous studies and tests to provide consumers with accurate and scientifically-backed information on the nutrition products they consume. Based on NMCD, the following supplements are considered safe and effective for their intended purposes:

1. Calcium is most commonly known to help improve* bone health, and often marketed to prevent osteoporosis and bone loss. Calcium must be taken in combination with vitamin D to increase* its positive effect on bone health. Women who take calcium daily have shown to reduce* PMS symptoms. However, calcium may decrease* the effectiveness of certain drugs, such as medications for osteoporosis and other antibiotics.

Calcium works best when taken in balance with other nutrients such as vitamins D, K2 and magnesium, or it may lead to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Taking vitamin K2 with calcium may be prescribed due to vitamin K2’s ability to transport calcium from your arteries and soft tissues to your bones and teeth, where calcium serves its best purpose. The best sources for calcium are plant-derived.

2. Despite its unpleasant aftertaste, fish oil has been proven* effective in decreasing* the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In the cases of people diagnosed with heart diseases, fish oil is used to prevent the hardening of arteries. Fish oil is also known to prevent eye diseases and some types of cancer. Be careful in the intake of fish oils, however, as high doses have been shown to increase* levels of bad cholesterol, and it can also have negative interaction with other medications such as drugs prescribed for high blood pressure.

3. Glucosamine Sulfate is likely effective in reducing* symptoms and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis targeted in the knees. Side effects may include nausea, heartburn, and constipation.

4. If you are lactose-intolerant, taking lactase may be effective for you if you are looking to reduce* gastrointestinal problems. Fortunately, studies have shown that lactase has no known side effects and interactions with other drugs and medications.

5. Psyllium has been shown to reduce* constipation and soften stools. Be careful in the intake of psyllium as it may cause serious allergic response in some people. Other side effects include stomach pain, diarrhea and constipation. If psyllium is taken with diabetes drugs, it can cause low blood sugar.

6. Pygeum is likely effective for reducing* symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Despite its benefits, it may cause side effects such as nausea and abdominal pain.

7. SAMe can improve* osteoarthritis. It is also likely effective in reducing* symptoms of major depression and pain. Side effects include dry mouth, headache, mild insomnia, anorexia, sweating, and dizziness. Consumers diagnosed with depression may feel anxious upon intake of SAMe. This nutrient might lead to toxic reaction if taken with certain cough suppressants, antidepressants or narcotic pain relievers.

8. Like SAMe, St. John’s Wort has also been shown to improve* symptoms in depression, however, its side effects include insomnia, vivid dreams, anxiety and headache. Consumers also report that skin sensitivity when exposed to the sun. St. John’s Wort has negative interactions with a wide range of drugs, as it sometimes decrease* the effectiveness of heart medications, birth control* pills and HIV/AIDS* drugs.

9. As stated above, Vitamin D is effective in preventing osteoporosis especially when taken with calcium. It also reduces* bone loss in people taking corticosteroids. Although side effects are rare, Vitamin D should be taken moderately, or large amounts may cause weakness and fatigue, headache, and nausea. Vitamin D supplements may reduce* the effectiveness of atorvastatin and other heart medications, birth control* pills and HIV/AIDS* drugs.

10. Ever considered consuming bacteria on purpose? Probiotics are live bacteria that are actually good for your health. Good bacteria help to ease* upset stomach and diarrhea. It also helps ease* inflammation in ulcers. A word of precaution: probiotics may need to be refrigerated. Other options are to buy yogurt which contains “live and active” cultures.

11. Evidence suggests that coenzyme Q10 can help prevent a migraine. It also slows progression of Parkinson’s disease, ease* muscular dystrophy and lower blood pressure.

12. Magnesium boosts* the body’s absorption of calcium which in turn, helps strengthen* bones. People who consume magnesium on a daily basis have shown positive effects such as lowering the risks of diabetes. People who are already diagnosed with diabetes may benefit from magnesium intake because it helps control* blood sugar. It must be noted, however, that magnesium levels can be depleted by antibiotics and diuretics. Other uses for magnesium include prevention of migraine, cardiovascular diseases and slowing the development of diabetes.

13. Stanols and sterols are nutrients found in nuts, seeds and whole grains. Research suggests that a stanol called sitostanol might lower LDL cholesterol by up to 15 percent.

14. In order to maintain a healthy skin, teeth, bones and vision, vitamin A is needed by the body. It has also been shown to improve* immune function. This vitamin works best with vitamin D, because there have been suggested evidence that vitamin A may lose* its effects without vitamin D, and worse, it can be toxic.

15. As a supplement, vitamin E has been found to help improve* cognitive function of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E is divided into two main categories: tocopherols, the true vitamin E and tocotrienols. Be careful when choosing vitamin E supplements to get the natural vitamin E. Manufacturers and distributors must properly label the form of vitamin E found in your supplements. The natural vitamin E is listed as either d-alpha tocopherol or d-beta-tocopherol. Synthetic vitamin E is listed as “dl-“forms.

Other Nutrients Info

Population Groups That May Require Dietary Supplements

There are certain population groups which require a specific additional nutrient intake due to specific medical conditions which may impede the nutrient absorption capabilities of their bodies. Furthermore, some of these population groups may also be affected by their choice of lifestyle or other health-conscious efforts.

1. Postmenopausal women. Supplement with calcium and vitamin D might increase* bone mineral density and decrease* fracture rates. During menopause, bone mass decreases* at a rate of 3%-5% on the first year, and less* than 1% on the succeeding years after the age of 65. Intake of calcium must be combined with estrogen therapy to further decrease* rates of bone loss as estrogen may help increase* the absorption of calcium in the gut.

2. Synthetic folic acid from dietary supplements may be prescribed to women who might become pregnant. A recommended dosage of 400mcg/day helps reduce* the risks of neural tube defects in newborn babies. Additionally, pregnant women may also be prescribed iron supplements.

3. Vegetarians and other people over the age of 50 should take vitamin B12 supplements. Bodies of people aged 50 and above might have difficulties absorbing vitamin B12 from natural foods, thus supplements may be prescribed by their healthcare provider.

Establishing Dangerous Ingredients

The NCMD has found that certain ingredients of dietary supplements have been directly linked to adverse events in the recent years. These adverse reactions to the ingredients have been reported to the manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements, which are then reported to the FDA. These ingredients are based on the study made by NMCD:

1. Aconite roots contain high level of toxic chemicals. Purported use for aconite initially included inflammation, joint pain, wounds and gout. Over the years, production of aconite has extended for treatment of finger numbness, skin diseases, and even hair loss. NCMD has included aconite in its dangerous ingredients because it may cause nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure. Other dangers include sweating, weakness, respiratory-system paralysis, and even death.

2. Bitter orange in oil form may actually be effective in the treatment for jock itch and other fungal infections. However, when taken orally, bitter orange may cause fainting, heart-rhythm disorders. A more drastic danger includes heart attack, stroke and death. Bitter orange is claimed to be effective against extra weight, nasal congestion and allergies.

3. Chaparral has been widely used to treat* colds, and inflammation, cancer and detoxification; however, it may cause liver damage and other kidney problems.

4. Colloidal silver is commonly used for fungal infections and other infections, rosacea, psoriasis and food poisoning. Other uses are for Lyme disease, HIV/AIDS* and chronic fatigue syndrome. NMCD has since recommended against colloidal silver after reports of consumers getting bluish skin surfaced on 2009. Since silver has no known benefits in the body, researchers have proven* that colloidal silver intake may cause unnecessary buildup of silver in the organs such as the brain, liver, kidney, muscles and spleen.

5. Coltsfoot has been marketed for treatment of cough, sore throat, laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma. Coltsfoot may lead to damaged liver and cancer.

6. Comfrey is used to treat* cough, heavy menstrual periods, chest pain, and cancer. However, comfrey has been shown to cause cancer and liver damage.

7. Country mallow is another dangerous ingredients marketed for treatment for nasal congestion, allergies, asthma, weight loss*, bronchitis. Its most common side effects include heart attack, heart arrhythmia, stroke, and death. Ephedrine alkaloids, which are directly linked to the side effects of country mallow, have been banned by the FDA in 2004.

8. Germanium is used for pain, infections, glaucoma, liver problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, HIV AIDS* and cancer. Germanium intake however, also causes kidney damage and more drastically, death. FDA has since warned consumers against germanium in 1993 due to numerous reports of serious Adverse Events Reactions (AERs).

9. Another ingredient which causes liver damage, greater celandine is marketed for the treatment of upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disorder, detoxification, and cancer.

10. Last in the list that causes liver damage, kava is marketed as a “safe” and “all-natural” herb. It has been used to treat* anxiety and the effectiveness of kava has only been backed with limited scientific studies for it to be tagged as a safe or effective product. In fact, Kava has been banned in three countries: Germany, Canada and Switzerland.

11. Lobelia has been used to stop* smoking; however studies have proven* this to be ineffective. Lobelia has also been used to treat* coughs, and asthma. Despite the claims*, lobelia can be toxic when ingested; and may even lead to low blood pressure, coma and death when consumers overdose.

12. Yohimbe has often been used as an aphrodisiac. Other uses include treatment of chest pain, depression, and diabetic complications. One of the possibly effective uses for Yohimbe is treating erectile dysfunction, although there are limited researches and studies to prove this. Regular doses can cause high blood pressure, and higher doses may cause severe heart problems and low blood pressure resulting to death. The FDA has warned against yohimbe in 1993 because it contains yohimbine, a prescription drug.

Risks of Nutrition Products

Indirect Risks of Nutrition Products

1. If you are to undergo surgery, make sure to inform your healthcare provider of any supplements you’re taking so he can advise you on which nutrition products to stop* before, during, and after surgery. That’s important because certain supplements may cause different reactions in the body. For example, fish oil has been shown to interfere with blood clotting.

2. Although St. John’s Wort has been deemed safe and effective, it may have certain interaction with drugs which may not be beneficial. It can speed the breakdown of certain drugs such as antidepressants and birth control* pills, therefore reducing* the retention and effectiveness of these drugs.

3. Cancer patients may need to pay attention to the different supplements they may be taking. Antioxidant supplements like Vitamins C and E might reduce* effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy and drugs. Additionally, there has been concern in the medical field that antioxidants might interfere with cancer cell-killing treatments.

4. Smokers and former smokers should avoid dietary supplements with large amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A because these are linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Caution For Dietary Supplements

Caution For Dietary Supplements

1. Do not combine supplements with medicines without consulting your doctor. Combining supplements with medicines may decrease* the effectiveness of either supplements or medicines, and may also lead to a more serious health risk as not all supplements and medicine will work well together. Your doctor should be able to advise you on whether or not the supplements you want to use affect your current medication.

2. Dietary supplements should never substitute prescription medicines. Supplements only provide additional nutrients, but they may never claim* to fully prevent, cure* or treat* any disease. Manufacturers and distributors are instructed by the FDA to carefully label their products to avoid these kinds of claims*.

3. Despite their benefits to the body, certain vitamins such as Vitamin A, D and iron should not be taken in large doses; else, they may lead to serious health problems.

4. Consult your healthcare provider when deciding if you should take supplements because your age, health records and other medical conditions should be considered before the intake of any supplements.

5. Report problems or Adverse Event Reactions to the manufacturer and distributor.

6. Check for Seal of Approval from independent organizations which are recognized by the FDA. These organizations include the NCMD, USP, Consumer Labs, and NSF International, and they have conducted rigorous testing and analysis of the nutrition products. Information for products may be available on their website.

7. Be very careful when choosing weight loss* and body-building products. The most unsafe ingredients found in this research are used for the above mentioned purposes. Try to create a healthier lifestyle by incorporating sports and exercise to achieve a healthier body. Moreover, the promotion for weight loss* and body-building products usually includes claims* which may be too good to be true, so instead of purchasing these products do your research and analyze if the claims* are realistic.

Conclusion

There is no way to generally categorize the effectiveness or dangers of nutrition products, as all the ingredients they contain must be considered individually to assess the benefits and dangers. Several known nutrition products that supplement the nutrients required by our bodies are proven* to be effective and safe; however, it is important to do your own research to obtain accurate information on the benefits and dangers nutrition products may provide. Researchers from accredited sites and organizations are vital, because the information found on the labels of supplementary products may sometimes be inaccurate, and claims* of effectiveness are not proven* by the FDA.

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.