Of Women's Health
Take Time To Care
are dietary supplements?
- They are
products people use in addition to the foods they eat. They include
vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids. They are sometimes called
- They may
come as pills, tablets, capsules, liquids, or powders.
- By law,
companies that make these products cannot claim they prevent, treat,
or cure disease. For example, a product cannot claim that it can "cure
cancer" or "treat arthritis."
choice to use a dietary supplement can be a good decision that provides
health benefits. However, under certain circumstances, you may not need
them for good health or they may even create risks.
dietary supplements be taken instead of eating certain foods? No
should not be taken to replace eating a variety of foods. It is important
to eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods. Dietary supplements
are taken to improve the diets of some people. While you need a certain
amount of nutrients, too much of some nutrients can cause problems.
I check with my doctor before using a supplement? Yes
- If you
have health problems and take these products, you may be placing yourself
at risk. Persons who are pregnant, nursing a baby, or a have medical
problems, such as, diabetes, or high blood pressure, should talk to
their doctor first.
it safe to take dietary supplements with other medications?
- You should
talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse first. Taking a number of different
dietary supplements or using these products together with medication
(prescription or over-the-counter) can sometimes have bad effects, even
death. Some of these products may also be very bad to take before surgery.
the FDA control dietary supplements? No
The FDA does
not approve dietary supplements before they are sold.
are in charge of making sure their products are safe before they sell
- FDA can
only judge how safe or effective a supplement is after it is
- Then FDA
must show that the product is unsafe before it can limit the product's
can I get information about a certain product?
the company that makes the product directly.
- Talk to
your doctor or pharmacist.
do I report a problem or illness caused by one of these products?
on searching the web for information on dietary supplements.
the following questions:
- Who runs
the web site? (government, college, medical community)
- What is
the purpose of the web site? (is it to educate or just sell the product)
- What is
the source of the information on the web site and does it have any references?
(reviewed in scientific journals by experts)
- Is the
information current? (check the date to see when it was posted or updated)
and Drug Administration
FDA's Office of Women's Health website
Dietary Supplement Labels Must Show:
much/many in package
supplement's effect on the body, followed by these words: "This
statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent
facts panel (serving size, amount, and active ingredient)
and address of maker, packer, or distributor. Write to this address
for more product information.