Did you know that more than 150 million Americans take a vitamin or dietary supplement daily? 64% of Americans take prescription drugs in addition to a vitamin/mineral supplement on a daily basis.
Improving our daily nutrition is very important but not everyone is well informed on the key facts about safe vitamin use or smart tips on how to choose a quality product. Many people forget to share their use of all vitamins, minerals, herbs and other over-the-counter (OTC) products with their health care provider. In addition, many health care providers don't always ask their patients about dietary supplement use.
Good communication and open dialogue between health professionals and patients improves patient health and encourages a focus on important prevention.
Be sure your health care professional knows and writes down all dietary supplements you take, even if taken infrequently. Write them down before your appointment and bring the list with you. The list should contain the supplement name, brand name, dosage and how long you have been taking the supplement.
Some dietary supplements interfere with prescription and over-the-counter drugs so it is important to provide information about dosage and frequency of use.
When visiting your health care provider, remember to ask them about your prescription medicine and nutrient deficiencies. Certain prescription medications can deplete essential nutrients in your body. Ask your provider how you can compensate.
Be sure to discuss lifestyle changes. Are you on a diet? Do you eat smaller or irregular meals? Do you smoke or drink alcohol? If so, you may be missing certain nutrients that are a necessary part of a healthy diet, such as iron, B-12, calcium and more. Discuss with your provider which vitamins may help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet.
Make sure to educate yourself. It is important to use reliable, scientifically sound information on dietary supplements for your health decisions. Talk with your health care provider and get their ideas.
Always choose a quality supplement. The quality is just as important as the type of product you take. Consider the following when selecting a brand
Is the product from a reputable manufacturer? If in doubt, ask your provider to recommend a reliable brand that carries the USP mark.
Does the manufacturer have a toll-free number and website where you can get information from qualified professionals and ask questions?
Does the label make claims that seem too good to be true? Use caution.
Know about safe supplement tips. Read the label and follow the dosage instructions carefully. Always look for warning statements, paying special attention if you take prescription medication, are pregnant or lactating, have allergies or any pre-existing conditions. When purchasing vitamins, choose a quality product and look for the USP mark.
For optimal health choices, open and accurate communication is the key.