There are a multitude of dietary supplements available for purchase on the market today. Dietary supplements are not the same as vitamins and minerals, but are usually produced to help address a specific health problem. A dietary supplement is usually a manufactured, non-synthetic product meant to supplement one’s daily diet with a pill, tablet, capsule, powder or liquid mixture. Sometimes a supplement will provide additional nutrients both naturally extracted from plant sources or which are artificially manufactured in order to enhance the amount of the daily intake.
The most commonly used supplement in the United States is Vitamin E, which has been found to be very beneficial in lowering the risks of developing heart disease, reducing the risk of stroke, and lowering the chances of developing certain cancers. Another substance which has been found to have some positive benefits in lowering the aging process and fighting certain diseases is Vitamin D, also known as calcium D. These two substances, along with several other potential vitamins, are collectively referred to as “nutrientaceuticals.” Different nutrientaceuticals may have different compositions of vitamins, minerals, and other substances which could possibly benefit the user. While each of these individual components is usually beneficial to the body, there is no conclusive evidence that these individual elements individually have any significant effects on the aging process or overall health.
Other dietary supplements, which are available to the general public include those which contain various types of carbohydrates, protein, fats, fruits, vegetables, fiber, and/or herbal extracts. Each of these different components has its own potential benefits, and some may even work in tandem to help the user achieve their optimal weight. In addition, some nutrients may work better with specific population groups than others. For instance, some nutrients may be more effective at promoting breast growth in women than others. These nutrients could be added to a diet specifically designed to promote breast growth.
However, just because a dietary supplement contains one or more vitamins, minerals, or herbs does not mean that the user will automatically gain the benefit of these additional elements. This is where a doctor’s opinion and evaluation come into play. A doctor can make recommendations to their patients regarding the amount of vitamins, minerals, and other substances that should be taken in order for a person to obtain the maximum benefit from their supplements. In addition, a doctor can make suggestions about how much of a certain food type, or ingredient combination, is needed in order for a person to receive the maximum benefit from their dietary supplements. If a doctor feels that a person is not receiving enough nutrients from their current diet, they may make recommendations for changes in diet and supplementation that will help them receive the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other substances.
While a doctor can make recommendations for a vitamin, mineral, or herb supplement to a patient, it is still important for a consumer to make sure that they are buying the right supplements for their unique needs. For example, a vitamin C supplement that is recommended for people with healthy skin should not be taken by someone with dry skin. Similarly, a woman who is trying to get pregnant should avoid any type of vitamin C supplementation, even when she is taking an acne medication. Some studies have shown that taking high doses of vitamin C can increase a woman’s risk of developing birth defects, so it is recommended that pregnant women stay away from supplements that contain vitamin C. Similarly, people with pre-existing heart disease or strokes should stay away from high doses of supplements which also contain vitamin A.
Although healthcare providers can provide patients with advice on the best dietary supplements for their unique situations, they cannot make anyone to purchase these products. It is ultimately the responsibility of the consumer to buy the supplements they need. This responsibility should extend to healthcare providers as well. Individuals should be aware that not all healthcare providers are knowledgeable about the different types of dietary supplements. When purchasing healthcare products from healthcare providers, it is important that individuals ask whether the particular product is appropriate for their needs and whether they would be better advised to ask their healthcare provider about the product.