Should You Add Dietary Supplements to Your Meal?

Dietary Supplement
Dietary Supplement

Plants and herbs have been used as natural remedies for thousands of years. Many cultures worldwide have adopted these substances for medicinal purposes. Several medications are derived from chemicals found in plants. Today, we see plants and herbs in the form of supplements that are available in a variety of formulations, such as capsules, pills, oils, and more. Many people add supplements to their diet to ensure they are receiving adequate vitamins and minerals they may otherwise not be getting from food alone. For example, vegetarians have a higher likelihood than non-vegetarians to have vitamin B deficiencies. Here, it would be beneficial for vegetarians to seek vitamin B supplements to add to their diet. Menopausal women are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis, so a calcium supplement would help build and maintain strong bones. People experiencing iron-deficiency anemia may take iron and vitamin C as supplements to their diet to overcome anemia. These are just a few cases in which supplements play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body. In this article, we had tried to clear your question that should you add dietary supplements to your meal?

This topic will review common supplements used, the safety and efficacy of supplements, how supplements are regulated in the United States, and whether their use is beneficial.

Should you add dietary supplements to your meal?

Deciding to add dietary supplements to your meal is a risk versus benefit discussion. Supplements can be beneficial in situations where diet alone is not enough to ensure the consumption of necessary nutrients. Supplements can also have a positive impact on certain diseases. However, supplements also pose a risk to the patient taking them. If not taken properly and depending on the supplement, the patient may experience side effects that can range from mild to severe. Supplements often have many drug interactions, so it is important to consider this when choosing whether to take supplements and to disclose any use of supplements or herbal products to your healthcare provider. Moreover, the safety and efficacy of the product do not have to be proven by the manufacturers. Many of the products need further research to determine their efficacy. All in all, it is best to get nutrients from a healthy diet rather than from supplementation. When this is not possible, supplements should be considered on a risk versus benefit basis.


Chamomile –The use of chamomile as a dietary supplement has been suggested for anxiety;although, its efficacy has not been determined. Some evidence has shown chamomilemay be efficacious in combination with other herbal supplements to treat an upsetstomach, diarrhea in children, and colic in infants. When chamomile is used asa supplement, be cautious of allergic reactions and drug interactions. Druginteractions have been reported with cyclosporine and warfarin.1

CoenzymeQ10 – Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a naturally occurring coenzymeproduced in the body. It can also be found in foods such as fish, meats, andwhole grains. One of the main functions of CoQ10 is to help produce ATP throughmitochondrial pathways. CoQ10 also has antioxidant properties. Depending on theamount taken, side effects that have been reported with CoQ10 include insomnia,rash, mild gastrointestinal discomfort, and nausea.3

Creatine – Creatine is a chemicalcompound found in the body that promotes ATP recycling. Creatine is present inmany muscle supplements to improve exercise performance and may have a role inenhancing mitochondrial function. Results from creatine studies have beeninconsistent and side effects reported included weight gain, muscle cramping,spasm, strains, and gastrointestinal discomfort.3

GinkgoBiloba – Ginkgo biloba is a supplement that many companies claim to havebenefits for brain health. Ginkgo biloba is an extract that comes from a ginkgotree and is widely used in traditional Chinese therapies to treat a variety ofillnesses. Ginkgo may also have effects on memory and cognition. Ginkgo hasbeen revered in the past for its potential to slow the progression of dementia;however, many studies have shown that ginkgo does not prevent dementia ormemory decline. Further research is necessary to establish additional benefitsof ginkgo biloba to improve brain health.2

Melatonin –Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. The main use ofmelatonin as a supplement is for insomnia and jet lag. Melatonin is awell-tolerated medication, with some reported side effects of dizziness,nausea, and headache.8

Omega-3Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids, or fish oil, can be consumed through a diethigh in fatty fish and leafy green vegetables or by taking fish oil pillsupplements. Omega-3 fatty acids act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatoryproperties that act to preserve brain cells. It is important to note that agreater beneficial impact on brain health has been shown through consuming adiet high in fish as opposed to consuming fish oil supplements. Omega-3 FattyAcids have also been discussed and used as a potential therapy for hearthealth.4

Please notethis is not a comprehensive list of the uses of these supplements, the resultsproving or disproving their efficacy, or a complete list of their side effects.

Regulationin the United States

In 1994 theDietary Supplement Health and Education Act, or DSHEA, was passed to regulatesupplements and herbal products in the United States. This Act separated herbalproducts into a different class than drugs; therefore, giving herbal productsseparate requirements. Under DSHEA, labels on herbal products are required tostate: “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent anydisease.” However, herbal product labels are still allowed to include healthclaims.

It isimportant for consumers to know the companies creating these products are notrequired to prove the efficacy, safety, or quality of their product beforeselling them. The FDA steps in to determine if a product is unsafe orineffective. It is not uncommon to see supplements being removed from themarket due to FDA regulations. Frequent episodes of adulteration and lack ofproduct purity have been reported which raises further questions about thesafety of supplements as a whole.

In 2007,Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) were issued by the FDA as new rules fordietary supplements. Good Manufacturing Practices mandated that dietarysupplements should be labeled properly, contain no adulterants, and be madeaccording to certain standards for equipment and personnel. However, it is notclear how effective these new rules have been. Several citations for lack ofGMPs have been issued to companies following FDA inspections. Furthermore,adulterated products continue to be found on the market.7


So, now we ask you after reading this article you that should you add dietary supplements to your meal? If your answer is yes, then kindly visit our website for relevant dietary supplement:


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