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Taking any kind of supplements can also be a type of complementary or alternative medicine. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate dietary supplements in the same way that it regulates medicine. A dietary supplement can be sold without research on how well it works. The benefit of taking dietary supplements is that they are designed to augment your daily intake of nutrients. Normally, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from a well balanced diet.
However, taking supplements can provide additional nutrients when your diet is lacking or when certain health conditions cause you to develop an insufficiency or deficiency. Multiple-vitamin supplements provide all the basic vitamins and minerals your body needs. These vitamins are generally safe because they only contain small amounts of each nutrient. Individual nutrients can also be sold as a dietary supplement, but in larger amounts than what’s found in a typical multiple-vitamin.
These supplements may be used to treat a simple deficiency, such as an iron deficiency, but sometimes they’re used therapeutically to treat specific health conditions or risk factors.
For example, large doses of niacin may be used to raise good cholesterol, and folic acid has been used to reduce the risk of a birth defect called spina bifida. The risk of taking dietary supplements is that some contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects in the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and hurt or even complicate your health.
Using dietary supplements could lead to harmful and even life-threatening consequences such as using supplements with medications whether prescription or over the counter and substituting them for prescriptions medicines. Taking too much of some of these supplements, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron. Some supplements can also have unwanted effects before, during, and after surgery. Always inform your health care provider, including your pharmacist about any supplements your taking especially before surgery.
The FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients under a different set of regulation than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement or dietary ingredient manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement or ingredient is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.
Manufacturers are required to produce dietary supplements to minimum quality standards and ensure that they do not contain any contaminants or impurities, and are accurately labeled. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading. The manufacturers are required to report all serious dietary supplement related adverse events or illnesses to the FDA as of December 2007.
The FDA can take dietary supplements off the market if they are found to be unsafe, adulterated, or if the claims on the products are false and misleading. Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is normally found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach. Folic acid is used for preventing and treating low blood levels of folic acid as well as its complications, including “tired blood’ (anemia) and the inability of the bowel to absorb nutrients properly.
Folic acid is also used for other conditions commonly associated with folic acid deficiency, including ulcerative colitis, liver disease, alcoholism, and kidney dialysis. Women who are pregnant or might become pregnant take folic acid to prevent miscarriage and birth defects such as spina bifida that occur when the fetus’s spine and back don’t close during development. Folic acid is likely safe for most people. Most adults do not experience an aide effects when consuming the recommended amount each day, which is 400 mcg.
High doses of folic acid might cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, nausea, stomach upset, behaviors changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, and excitability. There is some concern that taking too much folic acid for a long period of time might cause serious side effects. Some research suggests that taking folic acid in doses of 800-1200 mcg might increase the risk of heart attack in people who have heart problems. Other research suggests that taking these high doses might also increase the risk of cancer such as lung or prostate cancer.
For folic acid deficiency: the typical dose is 250-1000 mcg per day. For preventing neural tube defects: at least 400 mcg of folic acid per day from supplements or fortified food should be taken by women capable of becoming pregnant and continued through the first month of pregnancy. Women with a history of previous pregnancy complicated by neural tude defects usually take 4 mg per day beginning one month before and continuing for three months after conception. References: www. nih. gov/medlineplus/dietarysupplements www. wedmd. com/dietarysupplements www. fda. gov/food/dietarysupplements
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