'Natural' Dietary Supplements

You’ve seen ads for "natural" supplements that promise to make you thinner, more muscular, smarter, or superenergized.

The fact that something is natural or herbal doesn’t mean it’s safe or that it lives up to its claims.

Always talk to your doctor before taking any dietary supplement, so you can choose wisely. Some supplements can interact with medicines or have other side effects.

Dietary supplements include a wide range of products, like multivitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs. Some come from natural sources, like plants. Others are man-made.

You can get supplements in a variety of forms, including capsules, pills, gel tablets, liquids, tinctures, extracts, and powders.

Supplement makers do not have to test their products for safety or purity before putting them on the market. There are though guidelines they are supposed to follow. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you understand which supplements are best for you.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on September 16, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

FDA: "Overview of Dietary Supplements."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Using Dietary Supplements.” 

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