Do Dietary Supplements Have Benefits for Your Health?

When it comes to dietary supplements, Dr. JoAnn Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, is clear: they are never a substitute for a balanced and healthy diet. Most people don't need to take vitamin supplements and can get all the vitamins and minerals they need if they eat a healthy, nutritious diet. Research has shown that people who get their calcium from food have a lower risk of atherosclerosis, while calcium supplements are associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis.

The regulation of dietary supplements is much less stringent than that of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. For pregnant women, it is recommended to take a supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid every day until 12 weeks pregnant. Vitamin D supplements are popular because it is difficult (if not impossible for some) to get enough from food. Calcium supplements carry risks, such as hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease, although research is conflicting. Certain dietary supplements can block or accelerate the body's ability to break down some medications.

A cocktail of vitamins and minerals, as well as vitamin D supplements alone, can reduce the incidence of autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. The data showed that people who consumed adequate amounts of magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and K had a lower risk of death, but only if they got those nutrients from food rather than supplements. If you have low levels of calcium in your blood despite having an adequate dietary intake, your doctor may prescribe a calcium supplement. If you don't always follow a complete diet rich in the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, taking a dietary supplement might be a good option for you. However, dietary supplements aren't totally safe and taking them can pose risks, especially for people being treated for cancer. Vitamins and supplements come in many forms, from pills to gummies, chews, liquids and more. If you've decided that you want to supplement your diet with a daily vitamin, there are plenty of great options you can consider.

It is important to remember that dietary supplements should never be used as a substitute for a balanced and healthy diet.

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