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Dietary Supplements

Summary

Dietary supplements are vitamins, minerals, herbs, and many other products. They can come as pills, capsules, powders, drinks, and energy bars. Supplements do not have to go through the testing that drugs do.

Some supplements can play an important role in health. For example, calcium and vitamin D are important for keeping bones strong. Pregnant women can take the vitamin folic acid to prevent certain birth defects in their babies.

To take a supplement as safely as possible

  • Tell your health care provider about any dietary supplements you use
  • Do not take a bigger dose than the label recommends
  • Check with your health care provider about the supplements you take if you are going to have any type of surgery
  • Read trustworthy information about the supplement

NIH: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements)
  • (Food and Drug Administration) Also in
  • (Food and Drug Administration)
  • MedlinePlus: Herbs and Supplements Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) Also in

Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Food and Drug Administration) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements) - PDF
  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Specifics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Toxicology Program) - PDF
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) - PDF

Statistics and Research

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

Find an Expert

  • (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in

Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Men

  • (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)

Women

  • Easy-to-Read (Food and Drug Administration) Also in

Seniors

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging) Also in
  • (Food and Drug Administration)

Patient Handouts

  • (Food and Drug Administration) - PDF