Multivitamin-Mineral Supplements are Safe, Practical Way to Obtain Nutrients
In the US, a supplement is taken orally and intended to “supplement the diet” with ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanical products, amino acids and substances such as metabolites. The Council for Responsible Nutrition reports that 68% of US adults report taking dietary supplements (50% report being regular users). The majority (>95%) use multivitamin-mineral supplements. An overwhelming majority (83%) express confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements.
Most negative expert opinions on dietary supplements stem from safety concerns because of supplements adulterated with pharmaceutical compounds, i.e. substances that do not supplement the diet and are often promoted with exaggerated claims related to performance or weight loss. Substances which may be harmful should never be found in dietary supplements or foods. Those marketing products with ingredients which could be harmful should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Some health professionals worry that guidance to recommend dietary supplements will give people permission to continue poor dietary habits or may lead to excessive nutrient intakes in those with a nutritious diet. The reality, however, is that micronutrient intakes from diet alone are below recommendations in many countries for a significant proportion of the population. Research finds people using dietary supplements have a lower risk of inadequate micronutrient intakes.
Although people may improve the quality of their diet as they age, many are still not making healthy choices. Dietary intakes of several nutrients - potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E - are below recommendations. Fruits and vegetables are rich in two shortfall nutrients: dietary fiber and potassium, as well as dietary fiber and potassium, as well as carotenoids, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C but most do not eat enough servings daily.
As CRN found, consumers have reasons to be confident, especially in multivitamin and mineral supplements. A daily multivitamin-mineral supplement is a safe, practical way to increase vitamin and mineral intake.
2014 Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. Oct 30, 2014 press release.
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