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Read the Supplement Label continued...

If you don't understand the information on the supplement label, ask the pharmacist at the store for help. If your pharmacist can’t address your questions, you may call the supplement manufacturer. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Is there medical research to back up the product's benefits and safety?
  • Where was this product made? Be careful about any supplement produced outside the United States, because safety standards may not be the same.
  • Have there been any adverse effects reported with this product?
  • Has this product been recalled?

Questions for Your Doctor

When it comes to taking supplements wisely, your doctor is your advocate. Here are some questions to ask your health care provider:

  • Are there any studies to show that this supplement works, and that it's safe?
  • What side effects might it have?
  • Will this supplement interact with any other drugs or other supplements I'm currently taking? Can it reduce or increase the effectiveness of any medicines?
  • Will it cause excess bleeding, and if so, should I stop taking it before surgery?
  • Can I take this supplement while I'm pregnant or nursing?
  • Is this supplement safe for my child to take?
  • Can I take it if I have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or another medical condition?
  • What is the correct dosage for my age and weight?
  • How soon should I start seeing effects?
  • What should I do if I'm not seeing any benefits, or if I'm having side effects?
  • For how long can I take this product?
  • Which brand of this supplement is most reputable?
  • If I do have a side effect from this supplement, where can I report it?

Take Supplements as Directed

Use common sense when taking any dietary supplement. These simple tips can help you stay on track:

  • Follow the directions on the package and your doctor's instructions exactly.
  • Keep a list of all supplements and other medications you're taking.
  • Write down how much of each product you're taking, and at what time of day. It’s easy to forget that you’ve taken a supplement, which can lead to accidentally taking too much.
  • Also write down how the supplement affects you, and whether you have any side effects.
  • Share your notes with your doctor at each visit.

As with any medication, if you experience any side effects from a supplement, call your doctor right away.

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