NORWALK, Conn., May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Complementary and alternative medicine is a diverse group of health care practices not presently considered to be a part of traditional medicine. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly half of Americans use complementary and alternative medicine, which includes dietary supplements.
"The use of dietary supplements has grown considerably in the past two decades," said Peggy Fleming, Olympic figure skating champion and HealthSaver spokesperson.
While supplements can help you ingest the vitamins and minerals your body requires, they should not be used as a substitute for the nutrients and benefits a balanced diet provides. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that supplements should also not be used in place of prescription medicine.
"Dietary supplements can, however, help sustain proper body function
when your body does not otherwise receive the nutrients it requires," said
Brad Eggleston, vice president of HealthSaver.
-- Dietary supplements do not have the same testing and labeling process
as prescription and over-the-counter medications, so it is up to you,
the consumer, to evaluate a supplement for safety and effectiveness.
-- First, find out what risks the supplement carries. Internet research
should only include credible resources, such as government agencies and
major medical centers. Clinical studies, which involve testing with
human beings, will best reflect how you may react to the supplement.
In order to ensure recent findings, articles should be up to date.
-- Read the label. Do the supplement's active ingredients target your
health needs? The Mayo Clinic recommends looking for "USP" on th
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