“Dietary Supplements” are taken by mouth to supplement a normal diet in healthy individuals. They require no physician supervision. They are not medications. They supplement perceived dietary deficiencies. They do not treat diseases. Sarah Morgan, MD sumarized their uses at ISCD last week.
“Dietary Supplements” are sold over-the-counter without approval or evaluation by the FDA. Confirming the actual dose of any ingrediant is up to the manufacturer. The Federal Trade Commission oversees advertizing, but not the product.
“Dietary Supplements” can be herbs, minerals, animal organ tissue, vitamins, amino acids, metabolites, etc. They are often extracts, concentrates, or processed in some manner from formerly-living or non-living sources.
Natural supplements can vary in strength from bottle to bottle. Individual plants and animals vary hugely depending on soil, water, sunshine, climate, etc. You must trust the manufacturer to test and control how much of what is in the supplement. Cheapest may not be best.
“Dietary Supplements” are generally considered to be safe. However, they can be dangerous if you take multiple combination supplements for different body systems. A patient of mine was taking a dozen different combos. Five of them each had the maximum safe dosage of Magnesium for her size and age. Five times that maximum safe dose was the reason her kidneys were failing.
Jay Ginther, MD