When trying to choose dietary supplements, it is not always easy to sort the good advice from the bad. The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “Tips for the Savvy Supplement User” makes these suggestions:
- Don’t confuse the newest study with personalized health advice. News releases do not necessarily tell the whole story about a study’s results.
- Before taking supplements, consult your health care provider if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or if you plan to have surgery. Supplements can interact with medications and anesthesia.
- Remember that supplements are not a replacement for a balanced diet. Get nutritional information from a reliable source, like the National Academy of Sciences web site.
- Avoid products with too-good-to-be-true claims.
- Remember that dietary supplements are regulated differently than drugs.
- The FDA does not test supplements before they go on the market.
- Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety and efficacy of their products, as well as the truthfulness of their labeling.
- You can contact the manufacturer for more information about safety, efficacy, and quality control before buying the product.
- Products that are natural or lacking warnings on their labels are not necessarily safe.
Despite all the misinformation available, there are trustworthy, informative sites to consult about supplements. More information can be found at the following sites: