How to Use Dietary Supplements Properly – Things to Know

When in search of health and well-being, many people turn to supplements as a means to bridge nutritional gaps. Knowing HOW to use dietary supplements properly is the key to ensuring their safety and effectiveness.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to use dietary supplements properly to maximize their benefits and promote overall health.

Consult a Healthcare Professional

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First things first!

Before incorporating any dietary supplement into your routine, always consult a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian or physician.

They will evaluate your specific health needs, consider any underlying medical conditions or medications you are taking, and provide personalized recommendations.

This first step ensures that you choose the right supplements for your requirements and minimize the risk of potential interactions or adverse effects.

How to Use Dietary Supplements? – Identify Your Nutritional Needs

Understanding your specific nutritional needs is necessary to determine which dietary supplements may be beneficial for you.

Remember that a well-balanced diet should serve as the foundation of your nutrition, and that supplements should complement and not replace it.

Consider factors such as your age, gender, lifestyle, and any specific health concerns you may have. This knowledge will help you identify the supplements that can address your unique requirements effectively. Check this article on Essential Nutrients.

How to Use Dietary Supplements – Choose High-Quality Supplements

When selecting dietary supplements, prioritize products from reputable manufacturers that have the GMB label indicating that they follow good manufacturing practices (GMP).

Look for supplements that have undergone third-party testing for quality, purity, and potency. Certification seals from organizations like the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International provide additional assurance of quality.

High-quality supplements maximize the likelihood of their efficacy and safety.

Read and Follow the Label Instructions to Learn How to Take Dietary Supplements

Each dietary supplement comes with specific instructions provided on its label. You must read and understand these instructions before using the product. Many people do not read to understand the instructions, but only read to know the dosage!

Pay attention to dosage recommendations, timing of intake, and any specific instructions related to food consumption.

Adhering to the recommended dosage and usage guidelines ensures the proper utilization of the supplements and reduces the risk of adverse effects.

Be Consistent and Patient

Dietary supplements do not provide magical instant solutions and they usually require consistent and long-term use to experience their full benefits.

Set realistic expectations and give your body sufficient time to respond to the supplements. Consistency is key, and regular use as directed is necessary to achieve best results.

Monitor your progress and consult with your healthcare professional periodically to evaluate the effectiveness of your supplement regimen.

Monitor for Side Effects

While dietary supplements are generally safe when properly used, you should be aware of any potential side effects. Pay attention to any adverse reactions or changes in your health while taking supplements.

If you experience any strange symptoms, discontinue use and immediately consult your healthcare professional.

Store Properly

Proper storage of dietary supplements helps maintain their potency and effectiveness. Follow the instructions provided on the product’s packaging about temperature, light exposure, and humidity.

Some supplements may require refrigeration, while others should be stored in a cool, dry place. Following the recommended storage conditions ensures the longevity and quality of the supplements.

Dangers of Dietary Supplements Use in Seniors

Dietary supplements are commonly used by seniors to address nutritional deficiencies, support overall health, and manage age-related conditions.

While many supplements can be beneficial when properly used, it is important that you are aware of potential dangers and risks associated with their use in older adults.

Let us discuss a few of them in detail.

How to Use Dietary Supplements – Beware of Potential Drug Interactions

One of the major risks for seniors is the potential for drug interactions. Many older adults take multiple medications to manage chronic conditions.

Certain dietary supplements, such as herbal supplements or high-dose vitamins, can interact with prescription medications, altering their effectiveness or causing adverse effects.

Seniors must consult with healthcare professionals to evaluate potential interactions before starting any new supplement.

Increased Risk of Adverse Effects

Seniors may be more susceptible to adverse effects from dietary supplements due to age-related changes in metabolism and organ function.

The liver and kidneys may also be less efficient in processing and eliminating substances, increasing the risk of toxicity.

High-dose or excessive supplementation can lead to nutrient imbalances, organ damage, or other adverse effects, particularly in seniors with compromised organ function.

How to Use Dietary Supplements – Avoid Nutrient Overload

Dietary supplements can contribute to nutrient overload, especially when combined with fortified foods and a balanced diet. Excessive intake of certain nutrients, such as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) or minerals like iron, can be harmful to seniors. Try to get your daily dose from foods you eat.

Examples of Food Sources of Vitamin D to Eat
Examples of Food Sources of Vitamin D to Eat

Accumulation of these nutrients in the body can lead to toxicity, which may result in symptoms such as gastrointestinal disturbances, organ damage, or interference with the effectiveness of other medication.

Misleading Product Claims

The supplement industry is not as tightly regulated as pharmaceuticals, allowing for misleading product claims and insufficient evidence of safety or efficacy.

Seniors may be more vulnerable to marketing tactics and easily influenced by claims of quick fixes or anti-aging benefits.

Therefore, seniors need to be critical consumers, looking for products with reputable certifications, scientific evidence, and guidance of healthcare professionals.

Masking Underlying Health Issues

Relying solely on dietary supplements to manage health concerns can potentially mask underlying medical conditions.

Symptoms may be alleviated temporarily, leading seniors to believe they are in good health while underlying issues go undiagnosed and untreated.

This delay in medical intervention can have serious consequences, allowing conditions to progress unchecked.

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Conclusion – How to Use Dietary Supplements

Ultimately, the key for how to use dietary supplements is that it should be a part of a comprehensive approach to health and wellness.

Maintain a balanced diet, physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and regular healthcare check-ups.

By making informed decisions, working with healthcare professionals, and prioritizing overall well-being, you can navigate the world of dietary supplements safely and effectively.

References

Office of Dietary Supplements – Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know. (2020, September 3). Ods.od.nih.gov. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WYNTK-Consumer/

What Are the Benefits of Dietary Supplements? For Real? (2021, July 22). Greatist. https://greatist.com/health/benefits-of-dietary-supplements

Walrand, S. (2018). Dietary supplement intake among the elderly. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 21(6), 465–470. https://doi.org/10.1097/mco.0000000000000512

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