Source: FDA U.S Food and Drug Administration
are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy
life. Although most people get all the vitamins they
need from the foods they eat, millions of people
worldwide take supplemental vitamins as part of
their health regimen.
Why Buy Vitamins?
There are many good reasons to consider taking
vitamin supplements, such as over-the-counter
multivitamins. According to the American Academy of
Family Physicians (AAFP), a doctor may recommend
that you take them:
- for certain health problems
- if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Practice Safety with Dietary Supplements
When it comes to purchasing dietary supplements, Vasilios Frankos, Ph.D.,
Director of FDA's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, offers this advice:
Today's dietary supplements are not only vitamins and minerals. "They also
include other less familiar substances such as herbals, botanicals, amino acids,
and enzymes," Frankos says. "Check with your health care providers before
combining or substituting them with other foods or medicines." Frankos adds, "Do
not self-diagnose any health condition. Work with your health care providers to
determine how best to achieve optimal health."
Consider the following tips before buying a dietary supplement:
- Think twice about chasing the latest headline. Sound health
advice is generally based on research over time, not a single study touted by
the media. Be wary of results claiming a "quick fix" that departs from
scientific research and established dietary guidance.
- More may not be better. Some products can be harmful when
consumed in high amounts, for a long time, or in combination with certain
- Learn to spot false claims. If something sounds too good to
be true, it probably is. Examples of false claims on product labels include:
- Quick and effective "cure-all"
- Can treat or cure disease
- "Totally safe," "all natural," and has "definitely no side
Other red flags include claims about limited availability,
offers of "no-risk, money-back guarantees," and requirements for advance
"Also ask yourself, "Is the product worth the money?'" Frankos advises. "Resist
the pressure to buy a product or treatment on the spot. Some supplement products
may be expensive or may not provide the benefit you expect. For example,
excessive amounts of water-soluble vitamins, like vitamins C and B, are not used
by the body and are eliminated in the urine."