There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about dietary supplements, so we wanted to help set the record straight. Here are some things you should know about dietary supplements:

You have a lot of options:  Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products.They come in a variety of forms: traditional tablets, capsules, and powders, shakes and energy bars.

Read the label: While many dietary supplements have health benefits, check the label (and ask a medical professional) before adding one to your regimen. They can help you determine an appropriate dosage, and insure that the supplement that you’re interested doesn’t include ingredients or additives that may be harmful to your health.

Keep in mind:

  • Dietary supplements are just that—supplements—they’re not meant to be total replacements for foods that you should be eating on a healthy diet.
  • Not every nutritional supplement has been studied (and everyone may be affected differently), but some have been shown to be connected to health benefits, including: calcium, vitamin D, omega-3s, and folic acid.
  • Since they are not required to be approved by the FDA before being marketed, the effectiveness of supplements can’t be proven across the board.
  • While they are not known for having primarily negative effects, taking supplements can reduce or inhibit the effectiveness of some medical treatments or prescribed medications. Because of that, you should be careful with supplements if you are pregnant or nursing, and if you are considering giving a supplement to a child.
  • The FDA is available to hear complaints about nutritional supplements. There are also independent agencies that evaluate them. If you’re wondering about a supplement you take, you can visit one of these sites for more info:
    • U.S. Pharmacopeia
    • ConsumerLab.com
    • NSF International

Many people try to use nutritional supplements as part of their weight loss plan. The risk inherent in supplements— from possible side effects to medication interactions to unknowingly taking too much—are among the many reasons we advocate and practice medically-supervised weight loss.

We work with every client to insure that any recommended supplements or weight loss medications are in line with their overall health and nutritional goals, interact safely with their other medications, and have minimal (if any) negative side effects.

Even if working with one of our medical weight loss programs is not right for you at this time, it’s always a good idea to double check with your primary care doctor before starting a new dietary supplement. That way, you can make the best decision not only for your nutrition and weight loss goals, but for your overall health and well-being. Have you tried any dietary supplements?

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