It's important for everyone to benefit from taking dietary supplements, mainly because the majority of the foods grown today are grown in depleted soils. Taking dietary supplements is even more important under these circumstances:
- You have poor eating habits, or you consume less than 1,600 calories a day
- You are a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods
- You are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or you are breast-feeding
- You are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
- You are a postmenopausal woman concerned with healthy aging (remember men experience hormonal changes too, so supplements for men are very important to consider)
- You have a medical condition that affects your digestive system and how your body absorbs, uses or excretes nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
- You have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
- You are very athletic, and perhaps are in some sort of intense physical training; or your job is very demanding physically
- You smoke or drink. While everybody knows it's not good for us, many do it anyway. Although dietary supplements will not reverse the effects that alcohol and smoking will do to your body, they can help your body deal with the demands placed on it by these habits.
- Your age. The older you get, the more you need to make sure that you are getting the correct nutrition your body needs. Educate yourself, and ask a trusted health care practitioner what may be the best dietary supplement for you.
- Peace of mind. Since most of us are not getting enough nutrients from the foods we eat, taking a quality dietary supplement can ease your mind.
AND DON'T FORGET:
- Read and understand supplement labels. Product labels should tell you about the ingredients and which nutrients are included; also recommendations for use, such as the serving size and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
- Check expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn't have an expiration date, don't buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
- Store all vitamin and mineral supplements safely. Put supplements in a locked cabinet or other secure location out of children's reach (and pets). Don't leave supplements on the counter or rely on child-resistant packaging. Store dietary supplements in a dry, cool place. Avoid hot, humid storage locations, such as in the bathroom.
- Don't overdose your supplements. Some vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin B6 can be bad for your health when taken in extremely large amounts for extended periods of time. Follow the dosage instruction on the label.
- Tell your doctor. Some dietary supplements can interact with medications, so tell your doctor about the dietary supplements you take.