Sabtu, 22 Agustus 2009

What Does Nutritional Supplements Consist Of?

Under the broad heading of nutritional supplements, you will find vitamins, amino acids, minerals, herbal supplements, some steroids and even hormones like melatonin. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements and require the manufacturer ensure they are safe before they are marketed.

The FDA only takes action against any unsafe nutritional products after it reaches the market. Dietary supplements are classified as foods, not drugs as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so they are treated differently than prescription drugs.

A nutritional supplement is a product that is intended to supplement the diet and contain any of the following dietary ingredients:

A vitamin
A mineral
An herb or other botanical (excluding tobacco)
An amino acid
A dietary substance for use by people to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake, or
A concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any of the above

Furthermore, it must also conform to the following criteria:

It is intended for ingestion in pill, capsule, tablet, powder or liquid form.
It is not to be represented for use as a conventional food or as the sole item of a meal or diet.
It is labeled as a dietary supplement.
While hormones are not included in the above list, some hormones are labeled as "dietary supplements".

Dietary supplements are permitted to make structure and/or functional nutritional value claims. These are broad claims that the product can support the structure or function of the body, as in "glucosamine helps support healthy joints", "the hormone melatonin helps establish normal sleep patterns". The FDA must be notified of these claims within 30 days of their first use, and there is a requirement that these claims be substantiated.

The possibility of interactions between nutritional supplements and prescription drugs is something you need to keep in mind before starting a new supplement regimen. A product may be from an "herbal" or "natural" source, but that alone does not ensure its safety.

Combined with other drugs, supplements can produce unwanted pharmacological side effects. Though a nutritional supplement may be available without a prescription, it is a good idea to seek medical counsel regarding possible adverse side effects.

The bottom line is, in order to protect yourself; it is highly recommended you investigate nutritional supplements before you start taking them. Make sure plenty of studies have been conducted that show its nutritional value, safety and effectiveness. A good rule of thumb is to evaluate whether you are already getting enough of the vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement through your dietary intake, without additional supplementation.

Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is preferable, if that is a feasible option. If you recognize you are falling short of recommended daily allowances, ask your physician or nutritionist what supplements and dosages he recommends.

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