A variety of dietary supplements exist for helping to manage weight, lower cholesterol or provide more nutrients to the body when eating regular foods does not. Supplements often contain dietary ingredients such as vitamins, minerals or extracts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates dietary supplements as food products, however, not all supplements on the open market receive FDA approval prior to release. The purpose of FDA regulation ensures product safety, quality and health claims. The FDA publishes health alerts when dietary supplements are later found to have possible detrimental effects on the user.
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Chromium is a dietary supplement used for building muscle, decreasing appetite and burning calories. The National Institutes of Health notes that chromium enhances the action of insulin, which is important in metabolizing and storing carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the body. Although chromium can be derived from foods and is naturally made by the body in trace amounts, this may not be in accordance with the recommended dietary allowance. Supplements of chromium are not required however; the people most likely to benefit from this supplement include older adults and those with inadequate insulin production.
Calcium is an essential mineral naturally produced in body and is found in several foods. Calcium remains responsible for various functions such as maintaining muscle contractions, secreting hormones and supporting bones. The biggest role calcium plays in the body includes the constant absorption and deposit into new bones. The National Institutes of Health explains that aging can put people at risk for bone diseases, making calcium supplementation significant for preventing bone loss and fragility. When regular diet does not support the amount of calcium required by the body to maintain bone health, a dietary supplement may prove necessary. Postmenopausal women, lactose intolerant people and vegetarians remain at the most at risk for developing a calcium deficiency.
Iron is a component of proteins involved in oxygen transport and the regulation of cell growth. Iron is found in the body in a protein called myoglobin. Many foods contain iron including red meats and fish. Deficiency of iron can lead to fatigue, decreased immunity and confusion. A condition known as anemia can also result because of an iron deficiency. According to MayoClinic.com, iron deficiency anemia proves a common condition resulting in a lack of blood supply to healthy red blood cells. People at risk for iron deficiency include pregnant women, children and vegetarians. People can purchase iron supplements over-the-counter, however they should consult their physicians in the event of iron deficiency or other related medical conditions requiring additional treatment.