Nutrition basics (20)
- Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet
- Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes
- Added sugar: Don't get sabotaged by sweeteners
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (12)
- DASH diet: Tips for dining out
- DASH diet: Tips for shopping and cooking
- DASH diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (14)
- Meatless meals: The benefits of eating less meat
- Healthy cooking for 1 or 2
- Beans and other legumes: Types and cooking tips
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (13)
- Free range and other meat and poultry terms
- Cuts of beef: A guide to the leanest selections
- Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid: A sample menu
- see all in Healthy menus and shopping strategies
Nutritional supplements (3)
- Herbal supplements: What to know before you buy
- Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance
- Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?
Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?
Choosing and using supplements
If you decide to take a vitamin or mineral supplement, consider these factors:
- Check the label. Read labels carefully. Product labels can tell you what the active ingredient or ingredients are, which nutrients are included, the serving size — for example, capsule, packet or teaspoonful — and the amount of nutrients in each serving.
- Avoid megadoses. In general, choose a multivitamin-mineral supplement that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of all the vitamins and minerals, rather than one which has, for example, 500 percent of the DV for one vitamin and only 20 percent of the DV for another.
- Check expiration dates. Dietary supplements can lose potency over time, especially in hot and humid climates. If a supplement doesn't have an expiration date, don't buy it. If your supplements have expired, discard them.
- Watch what you eat. Vitamins and minerals are being added to a growing number of foods, including breakfast cereals and beverages. If you're also taking supplements, you may be getting more than you realize of certain nutrients. Taking more than you need is expensive and can raise your risk of side effects. For example, too much iron can cause nausea and vomiting and may damage the liver and other organs.
Keep up with supplement safety alerts
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a list of dietary supplements that are under regulatory review or that have been reported to cause adverse effects. If you're taking a supplement, it's a good idea to check the FDA website periodically for updates.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Duyff RL. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 3rd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2006;134.
- Fletcher RH, et al. Vitamin supplementation in disease prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 16, 2011.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010: Executive summary. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Aug. 16, 2011.
- Practice Paper of the American Dietetic Association: Fortification and nutritional supplements. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005;105:1300.
- Tips for the savvy supplement user: Making informed decisions and evaluating information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/ConsumerInformation/ucm110567.htm#basic. Accessed Aug. 16, 2011.
- Dietary supplements: What you need to know. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/partnersbrochure.asp. Accessed Aug. 16, 2011.
- Zeratsky K (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 16, 2011.