Should I Consult My Doctor Before Starting A New Supplement?

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Patients should always speak with a healthcare provider before starting a new dietary regimen, which includes vitamins and supplements. A patient’s primary care physician is familiar with the person’s medical history and can suggest supplements to take or to stay away from. Many supplements on the market have various ingredients and fillers, so proper guidance will help people make the right decisions.

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What questions should I ask my doctor?

A doctor will be able to educate a patient regarding the ingredients in supplements and how supplements affect the body. Patients with questions about specific ingredients should speak to a healthcare provider to learn more about the component. Here are some questions to ask a doctor before starting a new supplement.

1. Should I take a supplement to get the nutrients I need?

Sometimes people take supplements because the person’s diet does not include certain vitamin-rich foods. In these cases, a doctor may suggest changing the diet altogether. Supplements are not a substitute for a nutrient-rich diet. The body breaks down food easier than pills or vitamins. A doctor may suggest adding whole foods to the diet and taking supplements if the body is in desperate need of certain nutrients due to illness or vitamin deficiency. For instance, a doctor may suggest iron supplements for someone with iron deficiency.

2. Has this supplement been flagged by the health department?

Although the FDA does regulate some of the supplements on the market, the FDA does not oversee every supplement advertised to consumers. However, the FDA does keep records of any sanctions or complaints against companies for using dangerous ingredients in supplements. The FDA’s website features a list of these ingredients and companies, including any product recalls or withdrawals. Before buying a supplement, research the product online to find out if the product is safe to use.

3. How much of this supplement should I take?

Healthcare providers and pharmacists specialize in recommending doses of medication based on a person’s height, weight, and medical condition. Supplements come in various doses, and just like any other medication, patients must be careful, or an overdose can occur. A doctor will recommend the dosage along with the frequency of use for a supplement.

Meet with a pharmacist

Try scheduling an appointment with a pharmacist to learn more about supplements and vitamins. A healthcare provider will be happy to help patients find the right supplement or other alternatives to meet the patient’s needs best.