Dietary Supplements can be beneficial to your health — but taking supplements can also involve health risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.
You’ve heard about them, may have used them, and may have even recommended them to friends or family. While some dietary supplements are well understood and established, others need further study. Read on for important information for you and your family about dietary supplements.
Before making decisions about whether to take a supplement, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you achieve a balance between the foods and nutrients you personally need.
What are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements include such men health ingredients as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplement ingredients are marketed in forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, powders, and liquids.
What are the benefits of dietary supplements?
Some supplements can help assure that you get enough of the vital substances the body needs to function; others may help reduce the risk of disease. But supplements should not replace complete meals which are necessary for a healthful diet – so, be sure you eat a variety of foods as well. There are apple extract, green tea extract, marigold extract, etc.
Unlike drugs, supplements are not permitted to be marketed for the purpose of treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing diseases. That means supplements should not make disease claims, such as “lowers high cholesterol” or “treats heart disease.” Claims like these cannot be legitimately made for dietary supplements.
Are there any risks in taking supplements?
Yes. Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects in the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and hurt or complicate your health. For example, the following actions could lead to harmful – even life-threatening – consequences.
Who is responsible for the safety of dietary supplements?
FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.
The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe BEFORE they go to market.
Natural sweeteners come from flowers and plants directly, with little processing. Examples include stevia, monk fruit extract, and yacon syrup.
Many people are turning away from refined table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, looking for more healthful options. They may be making wider changes, such as following a keto diet, which can help some people avoid unnecessary calories and lose weight.
Also, people with conditions such as diabetes must be aware of the types of sweeteners that they use, as many affect blood sugar.
While natural sweeteners can be a better alternative to refined sugars, some are less healthful than many people believe. Anyone considering switching sweeteners for health reasons may benefit from discussing options with a dietician or doctor.
Stevia rebaudiana is a plant in the sunflower family and is native to parts of South America, and it can make stevia leaf extract. The leaves contain two primary compounds — one is extremely sweet, while the other is very bitter.
Manufacturers extract the sweet compounds from the plant to produce stevia. These compounds can be up to 300 times as sweet as table sugar, and stevia extracts are naturally calorie free, making the sweetener a popular choice.
However, some people feel that stevia is not truly “natural” because of the amount of processing required to produce the white, powdery stevia product in many stores. A person can purchase stevia leaves and leaf powder, though these may contain bitter as well as sweet compounds, and they are less widely available.
Monk fruit, native to southern China, is another alternative sweetener. The fruit contains compounds called mogrosides, which can be 150–200 times as sweet as sugar, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation.
However, although they are sweet, these compounds do not raise blood sugar in the same way that other sweeteners do. Monk fruit powder and extracts also contain no calories or carbohydrates.
Yacon syrup is sticky nectar harvested from the yacon plant, which is also native to parts of South America. The syrup is dark brown and resembles molasses.
Yacon syrup contains calories. However, it is high in soluble fibers called fructooligosaccharides, which have just half the calories of regular sugar, as a review in the journal BMC MedicineTrusted Source notes.