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A dietary supplement is anything you add to your regular diet to improve your health or healing. They can include:
Some food products
Dietary supplements can be bought at grocery stores, health food stores, and pharmacies. They come in many forms, such as:
Meal replacement bars
For most people, nutritional needs can be met by a balanced diet. Some people who may need supplements include:
Pregnant or nursing women
Young children or older adults
Vegetarians and vegans
People who need restricted diets
People who abuse alcohol
People who are ill or frail
Taking large doses of supplements has not proven to be effective. In fact, it can be toxic. The National Institutes of Health does not advise taking vitamins or nutrients over the recommended daily allowances (RDAs).
Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. Some may interfere with prescription medicines you take. Tell your provider what supplements you take and why. They can make sure your health concerns can be addressed.
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