What You Should Know About Dietary Supplements

When it comes to dietary supplements, it pays to be smart.

The top reason people say they take dietary supplements - vitamins, minerals, herbs - is because they think they're healthy or good for them. But how can you be sure about that?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates supplements as a food and not a drug. The FDA does not analyze the content of dietary supplements, and their makers do not have to prove supplement quality.

The laws regulating foods and supplements are less strict than drug laws. Some of the major differences include:

  • Research studies to prove safety are not required before supplements are marketed.
  • A manufacturer does not have to prove that the supplement is effective.
  • A manufacturer can claim that a product:
    • Addresses a nutrient deficiency
    • Supports health
    • Lowers the risk of developing a health problem
  • The marketing of dietary supplements may be misleading. Even though advertisements may not come right out and promise a "cure," they often imply as much. An actual claim must be followed by this text:
    • "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe before they are marketed. But they are not required to record, look into, or tell the FDA about any injuries or illness that may have been caused by their product.

What you should know
How can you tell which supplements work and won't hurt you? Consider the following:

  • Some supplements can interact poorly with medicine. For example:
    • St. John's Wort, an herb that may help boost mood, may interact with prescription drugs for heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, or oral contraceptives.
  • Some supplements can be dangerous during surgery. Some supplements themselves or supplement-drug interactions can cause changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and bleeding. Always tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking. You may need to stop taking some supplements at least 3 weeks before surgery.
  • Does it sound too good to be true? Then it probably is. Learn to discern hype from proven science. Be skeptical about anecdotal information or personal testimonials on benefits or results. Be wary of "quick fix" claims.
  • Don't make wrong assumptions.
    • "If it doesn't help me, at least it won't hurt me." High amounts or combinations with other substances can be toxic.
    • "Natural means it's healthy and safe." The term "natural" can have many meanings. It is sometimes used to imply unproven benefits or safety. "Natural" or "herbal" does not always mean "wholesome." These substances can still be very dangerous.
    • "No caution on the label means it's safe." There are not always specific laws regarding warning labels.

What can you do?
First, check with your doctor before using any dietary supplement.

Visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Dietary Supplements Labels Database (http://dietarysupplements.nlm.nih.gov/dietary/). This resource has information about:

  • Ingredients in thousands of dietary supplements
  • The health benefits claimed by manufacturers
  • FDA warnings and recalls

The safety of supplements Vidalista 5 mg is not always assured. If you have a health condition and take these products, you may be placing yourself at even greater risk.


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