Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know

Dietary Supplements:  What You Need to Know


(MUSIC) Should I take a dietary supplement? How do I know how much to take? Can vitamin C prevent colds? Is it safe to take St. John’s Wort with medications? Where can I get reliable answers? People have a lot of questions about dietary supplements. They come in many forms, like tablets, capsules, and powders, and even drinks and energy bars. You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the foods you eat, but not everyone eats as well as they should. So, many people wonder if they should take a supplement like a multivitamin. Scientific research shows that some dietary supplements are beneficial — taking folic acid helps prevent birth defects, and calcium and vitamin D can improve bone health. Some supplements need to be studied more to learn whether or not they are safe and effective. Many dietary supplements are made from natural ingredients that come from plants and animals. But “natural” doesn’t always mean safe. There are tens of thousands of dietary supplements on the market. It’s important to be informed about what you are taking. Talk to your health care provider about dietary supplements. Discuss which, if any, might be best for you, how much to take, and if they could interact with your medications. People need to know where to go to for accurate information. We’re the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health. Visit our Web site to find out what you need to know about dietary supplements. (MUSIC)

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