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Dietary supplement definition: A dietary supplement is a product that individuals consume to supplement one’s dietary intake.

Supplements may contain one or more active ingredients. These ingredients provide a particular health benefit depending on the dietary supplement’s intended use.

Individuals may consume dietary supplements orally. They are found in the form of capsules or tablets. People may also consume them as liquids.

Dosage form may depend on the dietary supplement’s ingredients and the user’s preferences.

Unlike prescription medications, consumers can purchase supplements over the counter. Buyers can purchase them in a variety of stores and pharmacies.

Dietary supplements are not food. They are not a replacement for a well-balanced diet.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that patients consult with their doctor before starting a dietary supplement regimen.

Dietary Supplement Ingredients

According to the dietary supplement definition, these products may contain a variety of active ingredients. These ingredients may include the following:

  • Vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C and D
  • Herbs and botanicals, such as garlic and St. John’s wort
  • Amino acids, such as Leucine and Arginine
  • Enzymes, such as Amylase and Lipase

The ingredients found in a dietary supplement are typically listed on the label. This section is often titled “Supplement Facts.” The panel provides a list of the ingredients and amount per serving.

The manufacturer may also provide a suggested dosage amount on the label of the package.

Uses of Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements have many uses today. They can treat medical conditions, compensate for dietary restrictions, and even improve sleep.

Vitamins are a popular type of dietary supplement used to boost one’s intake of essential vitamins and minerals.

For example, people take Vitamin C to improve immune health. Calcium is important for reducing bone loss and improving bone health.

Similarly, doctors recommend that people that do not get enough exposure should take Vitamin D regularly to stay healthy. Medical professionals may also recommend women who are breastfeeding to take a daily dosage of Vitamin B-12.

Others may use dietary supplements to increase their intake of nutrients that are not commonly found in their diet.

Vegetarians might take a protein supplement to compensate for the protein found in meat.

Regulation of Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements are important health products. The FDA regulates them closely to ensure that their manufacturing and labeling is consistent with government regulations.

The Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 governs the regulation of supplements in the United States. This law created a regulatory framework for ensuring the safety of dietary supplements.

The FDA is responsible for regulations and oversight of dietary supplement manufacturing and marketing. It also conducts research into the effects and benefits of dietary supplements.

Dietary Supplements Today

Consumers can easily find dietary supplements in today’s market. They are in pharmacies, grocery stores, gyms and online. Supplement forms may range from capsules and soft gels to  liquids and powders.

The popularity of dietary supplements has increased significantly in recent years. According to a 2017 consumersurvey, 75% of U.S. adults say that they have taken at least one dietary supplement in the past year.

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