Be smart about taking dietary supplements

Be smart about taking dietary supplements

There are right and wrong ways to take dietary supplements. For example, in her newest blog, holistic pharmacist Sherry Torkos advises readers to avoid supplements with chemical additives. “With so many of us taking dietary supplements, it’s easy to start feeling complacent about their safety. Even though they are common and easily available, you should still be smart about taking them,” she reminds us.

Torkos said that by following some simple tips you can help ensure that you are getting the desired health benefits from whatever dietary supplement you take. She reminded people to avoid supplements with excipients (chemical additives) “unless no other alternative is available.

“These may include talc, corn, wheat, dairy, artificial flavorings and colorings (dyes) and preservatives. These are unnecessary ingredients that can cause allergic reactions in some people. For example when it comes to fiber products, many contain a lot of fillers such as cellulose, methycellulose and polydextrose as well as artificial flavors and colors. This is why I often recommend Sunfiber, which contains just fiber. This particular product is tasteless and odorless, and mixes well with fluids, giving you all that you need in a fiber supplement without the stuff you don’t need.”

Other good advice from Torkos included:
● Read the labels carefully. “Look for an expiration date and make sure the product is well within that date. You don’t want to buy a 60-day supply, only to have the product expire in 40 days. If there is no expiration date on the label, don’t buy it.”
● Don’t stop taking a prescribed drug or substitute a supplement for a prescribed drug unless under the advice and supervision of your healthcare provider. “Dietary supplements are not necessarily intended to take the place of prescription medications.”
● Take the supplements regularly. “With some, such as multivitamins or fish oil, you may not notice a difference in how you feel, but they are working and need to be taken consistently for you to reap the benefits.”
● Stay within the recommended dosage. “Don’t take a higher dosage of a product than is recommended on the label unless your healthcare provider advises you to do so.”

Learning as much as you can about the supplement you are considering taking will help you to be more proactive about your health.