What is a dietary supplement?
A dietary supplement is a ‘natural health product’ usually consisting of vitamins, minerals, or other substances.
Fast Facts on Dietary Supplements:
- Supplements can be dangerous if not used properly.
- Most children do not require a multivitamin if they are consuming a well-balanced diet.
- Eating a variety of healthy foods is recommended as they contain many essential nutrients like fibre, carbohydrates, fats, and protein which are all needed for optimal health.
- Does everyone need to be taking a dietary supplement? No. For most individuals, a well-balanced diet will provide adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Who needs a dietary supplement?
- People who could become pregnant – People who could become pregnant should take a multivitamin that has 0.4mg of folic acid daily; the multivitamin should also contain vitamin B12.
- People who are pregnant – People who are pregnant should take a multivitamin that has 0.4 mg of folic acid and 16 to 20 mg of iron.
- Infants who are breastfed – Infants who are exclusively or partially breastfed should be given 400 IU of Vitamin D daily until they are two years old.
- People over 50 years – People who are over 50 years of age should take 400 IU of Vitamin D daily.
Individuals who may need dietary supplements include:
- People who do not consume dairy or calcium-fortified products
- People with certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis or anemia
- People who smoke
Postmenopausal women should choose a vitamin and mineral supplement that does not contain any or much iron, for example a supplement made for seniors.
Talk to your health-care provider or registered dietitian if you have any questions before taking any dietary supplements. You can speak with a registered dietitian by calling 811.
Services related to this information:
811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555