Home Supplements Dietary Supplements: Harmless, Helpful, or Hurtful?

Dietary Supplements: Harmless, Helpful, or Hurtful?

Dietary Supplements: Harmless, Helpful, or Hurtful?

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Are you looking for a healthy body? Quick weight loss with no dieting? Top athletic performance without breaking a sweat? Websites, infomercials, magazine ads, and celebrity tweets make an astonishing array of claims about the improvement to health and performance that will come from using dietary supplements.

If you take supplements, you're not alone. The majority of Americans take at least one dietary supplement every day. Consumers have tens of thousands of supplements to choose from, spending an estimated $32 billion each year on such products. By law, the US Food and Drug Administration has limited regulatory powers over dietary supplements. Many supplements are manufactured overseas in nations with loose quality-control standards. Scientific evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of supplements is minimal, and in some cases, supplements have led to serious illness and death.

Registered nurse Connie Goldsmith takes an in-depth look at the wide world of dietary supplements—vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, weight-loss products, performance-enhancing products, energy boosters, and more. What do doctors, dieticians, and other experts have to say? Is it ever safe to take a supplement? What are the red flags to watch for when considering these products? Goldsmith gives teens the tools to be smart consumers, urging all readers to consult with a qualified medical professional when considering any supplement.