FDA Launches New Dietary Supplement Education Initiative
Every day, millions of Americans take dietary supplements for reasons as distinctive as they are. Some supplements may help people meet their daily requirements of essential nutrients or help improve or maintain their overall health. They may take supplements based on the recommendation of their healthcare professional or their own decision to do so.
Dietary supplements can also come with health risks—they are often tied to interactions with other supplements or medications—so it's important to stay informed.
In an effort to help consumers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new initiative, Supplement Your Knowledge, to help inform and broaden consumer, educator and healthcare professionals' understanding of dietary supplements.
More than half of all Americans take dietary supplements daily or on occasion, according to the FDA, and the Supplement Your Knowledge resources provide reliable information about the potential benefits and risks associated with dietary supplements, such as vitamins, minerals and herbs.
"Dietary supplements can be valuable to your health, but taking some supplements can also involve health risks. It's important for consumers to have a comprehensive understanding about dietary supplements as well as the ability to identify and safely use supplements that are beneficial to their health," Douglas Stearn, deputy director for regulatory affairs in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a press release.
"These Supplement Your Knowledge resources will help provide consumers and healthcare professionals with facts to make informed decisions when determining if they want to use or recommend dietary supplements," Stearn said.
Consumers can find educational videos and fact sheets about dietary supplements, including how they are regulated and the potential benefits and risks. The FDA said it hopes the information will be a helpful resource for consumers when talking to a physician, nurse, dietitian, pharmacist or other healthcare professional about a dietary supplement they are considering.
The new site includes information for educators and healthcare professionals, too.
"Public health and safety regarding dietary supplement use are matters of great importance to the FDA," the press release read. "Supplement Your Knowledge is part of the agency's plan of action to arm individuals with helpful information to make informed decisions about the use of dietary supplements."