3 Things You Should Know About Dietary Supplements
1. How much do we know about dietary supplements?
The amount of scientific evidence we have on dietary supplements varies widely—we have a lot of information on some and very little on others.
2. What do we know about the effectiveness of dietary supplements?
Studies have found that some dietary supplements may have some benefit, such as melatonin for jet lag, and others may have little or no benefit, such as ginkgo for dementia.
Supplements you buy from stores or online may differ in important ways from products tested in studies.
Most research shows that taking multivitamins doesn’t result in living longer, slowing cognitive decline, or lowering the chance of getting cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
3. What do we know about the safety of dietary supplements?
Taking a multivitamin is unlikely to pose any health risks.
Dietary supplements may interact with your medications or pose risks if you have certain medical problems or are going to have surgery.
Many dietary supplements haven’t been tested in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.
Some products marketed as dietary supplements—promoted mainly for weight loss, sexual enhancement, and bodybuilding—may contain prescription drugs not allowed in dietary supplements or other ingredients not listed on the label. Some of these ingredients may be unsafe.