What You Should Know If You Take Supplements

The heightened health and wellness awareness in the US is pushing individuals to make lifestyle adjustments for better health. Though some people like to improve their health by increasing their daily exercise routines, others may like to take supplements to boost immune system function, as well as those that can help with gut health and inflammation. And, of course, dietary supplements that are taken in moderation could also be beneficial too. According to one consumer survey, 80% of Americans believe that the dietary supplement industry is trustworthy, and so take various supplements as part of their daily wellness regimen. Before taking any supplements, though, you should do your research and speak with a doctor to ensure you are doing the best thing for your overall health. 

Such dietary supplements include vitamins, enzymes, proteins, and probiotics. However, dietary supplements are not as straightforward as consumers perceive; hence, consumer information is vital in helping you decide whether you need them. Therefore, below is a breakdown of everything you need to know before taking supplements.

Why Take Dietary Supplements?

The primary reason why individuals take dietary supplements is to raise their essential nutrient intake to recommended dietary intake (RDA) levels. RDAs are the Food and Nutrition Board’s daily dietary allowances considered adequate to meet the nutritional needs of a healthy child or adult. Dietary supplements that bolster nutrient intake include vitamins, iron, minerals, and omega fatty acids supplements.

On the other hand, some individuals take dietary supplements to improve body functions for optimal health. One such supplement is the NMN supplement 500 mg, available online in capsule form. According to one research review, NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide), a naturally-occurring molecule, has anti-aging and promotes muscle function. Other supplements that improve overall health include OTC enzymes, proteins, and probiotics.

Most dietary supplements are over-the-counter products. However, a medical doctor can prescribe dietary supplements under particular circumstances, including when they detect nutritional deficiencies or prescribe medications that can cause such deficiencies.

Dietary Supplement Industry Regulation For Consumer Safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the primary statutory authority with regulatory oversight over the pharmaceutical and food industries. Its role in regulating the pharmaceutical industry entails overseeing each phase of human drug trials, including the power to pause trials if it deems the trial as posing a reasonable risk to participants. 

Moreover, the regulatory authority can demand a post-marketing surveillance plan as part of a risk management strategy to limit any unprecedented risks arising from the new drug. However, the FDA classifies dietary supplements as food products rather than pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, its role in regulating dietary supplements only encompasses product safety.

FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) Regulations For Dietary Supplements

The FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) regulations include maintaining hygiene in production facilities to prevent product contamination. Second, dietary supplement manufacturers submit their products to the FDA so that the regulatory body can ensure the product is safe. Therefore, any dietary supplement manufacturer planning to launch a new ingredient must notify the FDA before commencing marketing.

Third, the FDA’s cGMP regulations also cover dietary supplement product labeling. According to Its labeling regulations, a dietary supplement’s product label should feature the brand name, product’s net quantity, ingredient list, and nutritional labeling. However, the FDA does not test product efficacy or approve dietary supplements for marketed therapeutic effects. Second, it does not require manufacturers to list the supplement’s active ingredient quantities per serving, meaning some supplements may lack enough dynamic ingredient quantities to validate efficacy.

Nonetheless, while the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplement marketing, it prohibits misleading claims about a supplement’s efficacy in treating, preventing, or curing clinical diagnoses. However, a manufacturer may claim that the supplement boosts overall wellness but include a disclaimer that the supplement is not an FDA-approved product on the marketing material. 

Possible Risks Associated With Dietary Supplements

The FDA has measures to ensure dietary supplements are contaminant-free and safe for human consumption. However, consumers may incur bodily harm while taking dietary supplements under the following circumstances.

Taking Products Containing Proprietary Blend

A proprietary blend is a formulation contained in a dietary supplement constituting undisclosed compounds. Although the FDA requires dietary supplement manufacturers to list all their ingredients and quantities on the label, it makes exceptions for proprietary blends. 

Therefore, you may have an adverse reaction to compounds within the proprietary blend. However, avoiding supplements containing proprietary blends reduces your risk of harm.

Possible Negative Interactions With Prescription Medications

Adverse drug interactions may occur while taking dietary supplements alongside prescription medications. Some nutritional supplements may lower the efficacy of some medications, rendering the medication ineffective. 

Moreover, simultaneously taking competing nutrient supplements means that one nutrient will inhibit the body’s capacity to absorb the competing nutrient. Therefore, ensure you consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.

Possible Side Effects

Most dietary supplement manufacturers market their products as having zero side effects. However, the active ingredients in supplements affect physiological processes, creating the possibility of side effects.

Taking Supplements That You Do Not Need

While nutrients are vital for body functions, too much can cause adverse effects. Most food manufacturers fortify food products with nutrients, and taking supplements containing similar nutrients can cause toxic accumulation of the said nutrient. Toxic nutrient accumulation can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, insomnia, and adverse health issues like bone degradation and kidney problems.

Potentially Harmful Bulking Agents

Bulking agents include fillers and binders like artificial colors and preservatives intended to add volume to the supplement and lower the number of active ingredients in the mixture. They have no nutritional value but can cause undesirable effects.


Dietary supplements may not require a prescription, but they affect how the body works. Therefore, consulting a doctor to advise you on the supplements you may need is prudent. They can advise you on the ideal doses for the said supplements and recommend dosage duration. Lastly, ensure you learn how to read product labels and purchase supplements from trustworthy brands.

Adnan Sarpal

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