Dietary supplements are popular in the market, and today most of the people are taking some of the other supplements. They come in a different form, including capsules, tablets, gummies, powders, drinks, and energy bars. Most popular supplements include- multivitamins; calcium, iron, and other minerals; omega 3 fatty acids; dairy probiotics; herbal preparations and protein supplements.

Before starting the consumption of any of these, here are a few things you should know about supplements-

Diet first

Supplements are no substitute for a balanced diet and should never be used as a replacement for proper food. Add more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and salad in your diet. Remember to consume plenty of water. Find the required daily allowance for dietary substances and try consuming it through meals. Search for the rich sources of nutrient deficiency you have and increase its intake in meals. This method of natural supplementation is free from side effects, cost-effective, and the healthiest available option. 

Need for supplements

Supplements should be consumed strictly only if you need it because of a medical condition or symptom. Choose the supplement wisely as per your requirement. Consumption of any substance in excess of the daily requirement may lead to side effects, and that includes an excess of vitamins and minerals also. For example, an overdose of Vitamin A in pregnant women may lead to congenital disabilities in the child. Also, excessive consumption of iron leads to pigmentation and liver disorders.


Even though the manufacturer label suggests the serving size, there is no standardized maximum size of the supplement tablet. It could pose a serious risk of overdosage. You should take help from a doctor or nutritionist to ascertain the dose, frequency, and duration suitable, particularly for you. Intake of any supplement depends on your health, medical history, current medication, age, and weight. Therefore the quantity must be customized as per your need.

Side effects 

There are many supplements that contain active ingredients that can have strong side effects on the body. Most of the manufacturers do not even mention the possible adverse effects on the label. There is no compulsory safety testing or FDA approval requirement before launching a new supplement in the market. Constantly be alert to the possibility of unexpected side effects, especially while taking a supplement for the first time. For example, dairy probiotics can cause adverse effects in a lactose intolerant person.

Interaction with prescription drugs

The supplements are usually used in conjunction with prescription medications. Interaction of a drug and supplement is significant as it can change the pharmacological response of the drug therapy, compromises a patient’s nutritional status, increase the risk of side effects, or exert fatal effects. For example, Omega 3 fatty acids, if consumed with anticoagulants or blood thinners like warfarin, may lead to spontaneous bleeding, which requires immediate medical attention. Be more cautious in using supplements for children, during pregnancy, or while breast feeding. 

Added ingredients

Always check the ingredients mentioned on the package. The product might have added sugars, calories, and other preservatives. Check if the total calorie is hindering your aim for the use of supplementation. Be extra vigilant in choosing a supplement if you are allergic to any consumable product that could be a part of the ingredients. Remember that the products stating natural or herbal do not mean it is totally safe. Even organic products could have a small percentage of harmful preservatives or vehicle.

Proper consultation

Although the supplements are available as over-the-counter drugs, take proper consultation for advice on the requirement, suitable type, and proper dosage, method of intake, and duration of consumption. In order to reap maximum benefit from a supplement, you can consult either a nutritionist or a dietician, especially if you are seeking treatment for any specific issue like hair loss, weight management, digestive issues, etc.