Dietary Supplements

What Every Person Should Know About the Risks and Benefits of Dietary Supplements

Looking at dietary supplements risks and benefits is not easy because there are complex issues behind the scenes. The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, takes a hands-off approach to supplements in many cases. This leaves consumers on their own when shopping for these products. Here is what every person should know when weighing the risks and benefits of dietary supplements.

Dietary Supplements

FDA Rules Regarding Supplements

The first thing to know is that when it comes to dietary supplements FDA rules are incredibly lax or nonexistent. The supplements are classified differently from medications. The claims on bottles do not have to be proven. The supplements do not have to be proven safe before hitting the market. Some regulation can come later from the FDA and Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, but only after the products are on store shelves. This means you have to be very careful about what you take.

Safety Issues to Be Aware Of

You need to be aware of several things when it comes to dietary supplements safety. The first is that some supplements can interact with other medications causing adverse reactions. These can be dangerous or fatal. The ingredients in supplements could damage your liver or kidneys even if they are all natural or made from plants. A third issue is that some supplements are manufactured poorly leaving open the potential for contamination.

Validity of Health Claims and Effectiveness

You cannot trust any of the marketing related to dietary supplements. This includes television commercials, claims on the bottle and webpages online. None of that information has to be proven true. The supplement could do nothing and the manufacturer can still claim it is beneficial. Some companies even manufacture bogus studies that do not resemble scientific trials or studies in any way. The FTC sometimes gets involved if claims are outrageous and consumers complain.

Potential Benefits

When looking at dietary supplements risks and benefits you have to consider some of the potential advantages. Some supplements like folic acid and vitamin C do have health benefits. Multivitamins can help to round out your nutrient intake. Certain dietary supplements do actually have benefits although you must do your own research through credible sources to find out which ones.

Supplements for Bodybuilding

Dietary supplements for bodybuilding happen to be a special case in this area. These supplements are useful for bodybuilders because they allow for much larger intakes of proteins or amino acids than you could get through eating. The bodybuilding supplements are helpful as long as wild claims are not made on the packaging. The problem is that these supplements are for a very narrow and specific class of people.

When Dietary Supplements Might Actually Help

Dietary supplements may be worth taking when you are severely deficient in vitamins and minerals due to diseases, diet or other problems. Although your body might not absorb everything, the small bit that is absorbed can help. They are worth taking when the supplement contains a proven ingredient like folic acid and you are in the demographic it can help such as pregnant women. Always do your research before choosing a supplement and taking it for any length of time.