What supplements do

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Dietary supplements can be beneficial at any age, but they can also have unwanted side effects, such as unsafe prescription drug interactions. They could also not work at all. Talk with your doctor if you are considering taking a supplement. Dietary supplements are substances you might use to add nutrients to your diet or to lower your risk of health problems such as osteoporosis or arthritis. Dietary supplements come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, gel capsules and tablets, extracts, or liquids.

They might contain vitamins, minerals , fiber, amino acids, herbs or other plants, or enzymes. Sometimes, the ingredients in dietary supplements are added to foods and drinks. Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get the nutrients you need. However, some people may not get enough vitamins and minerals from their daily diet.

People over age 50 may need more of some vitamins and minerals than younger adults do. Your doctor or a dietitian can tell you whether you need to change your diet or take a vitamin or mineral supplement to get enough of these:. You might hear about antioxidants in the news. These are natural substances in food that might help protect you from some diseases. Here are some common antioxidants that you should be sure to include in your diet:. Currently, research suggest that large doses of supplements with antioxidants will not prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

In fact, some studies have shown that taking large doses of some antioxidants could be harmful. Again, it is best to check with your doctor before taking a dietary supplement. Herbal supplements are dietary supplements that come from plants. A few that you may have heard of are ginkgo biloba, ginseng, echinacea, and black cohosh. studies of certain herbal supplements have not shown any benefits.

The U. Food and Drug Administration FDA checks prescription medicines, such as antibiotics or blood pressure drugs, to make sure they are safe and do what they promise. The same is true for over-the-counter drugs such as pain and cold medicines. However, the FDA does not have authority over dietary supplements, which do not have to be approved by this agency for safety or efficacy before being sold to the public. The federal government does not regularly test what is in dietary supplements, and companies are not required to share information about the safety of these products with the FDA before they sell them.

So, just because a dietary supplement is on a store shelf, that does not mean it is safe, does what the label says it will, or contains what the label states. If the FDA receives reports of possible problems with a supplement, it will issue warnings about the product. The FDA may also take supplements that are found to be unsafe off the market.

The Federal Trade Commission investigates reports of that might misrepresent what dietary supplements do. A few private groups, such as the U. Try sticking to a healthy diet, being physically active, keeping your mind active, not smoking, and seeing your doctor regularly. Read about this topic in Spanish.

MedlinePlus National Library of Medicine www. Dietary Guidelines for Americans DietaryGuidelines usda. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date. Healthy Eating and Alzheimer's Disease. Dietary Supplements for Older Adults. On this : What is a dietary supplement? Should I take a dietary supplement?

Dietary supplements for older adults Vitamin and mineral recommendations for people over 50 What are antioxidants? Herbal supplements and older adults Are dietary supplements safe? Related Articles.

What supplements do

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