Originally published on Healthgrades
November 24, 2015
By Julianne Cuba
People take dietary supplements for various reasons. Some want to increase their energy or help with weight loss. Others simply want to enhance their overall health.
Dietary supplements are just what the name suggests. They contain ingredients to supplement—or add to—your diet. The ingredient could be a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, herb, or enzyme. Dietary supplements usually come in pill, liquid or powder form. You can buy some as a tea or extract to drink. Others come as a nutrition bar or a chew.
It’s important to realize any dietary supplement has the potential to cause problems. And some can have harmful side effects. That’s especially true if you combine them with certain prescription medications or if you have an existing medical problem. Learn the answers to the following questions before taking any dietary supplement.
What are the benefits?
Dietary supplements can be beneficial. Some may help reduce the risk for certain diseases. Others may help you be healthier overall.
For instance, your body needs vitamin D. It’s important for healthy bones. But, it can be hard to get enough of this vitamin naturally. Taking a supplement provides an extra source of vitamin D. Another example is folic acid. Taking it before and during early pregnancy helps prevent certain birth defects.
Check with your doctor before starting a supplement to find out about the specific benefits for you.
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