Use of dietary supplements on the rise

Are you taking a multivitamin to help get the nutrients your body needs?  You’re not alone.  A new study shows more and more people are taking dietary supplements to improve their health.

From multivitamins to calcium pills, a new study shows a 42% jump in the use of dietary pills over a 20 year period.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data from 1994 to 2006 and found that a good portion of Americans regularly take supplements.

More women than men
While men do use dietary supplements, the study shows more women than men take them.  While multivitamins are the most common, calcium use climbed to 61% in women that are over 60 years old.  That’s more than double the amount of women that took calcium 20 years ago.

Vitamin D gets a boost
The study also showed more people are turning to Vitamin D supplements.  While many nutrients can be found in food, Vitamin D is tougher to get.  It’s sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ because people can absorb Vitamin D from sunlight too.  However, 24% of men and 30% of women felt like they weren’t getting enough Vitamin D and started taking supplements.

Are dietary pills necessary?
According to the Mayo Clinic, dietary supplements aren’t intended to be food substitutes.  Their website suggests if you eat a healthy diet containing fruits and vegetables, you’ll get the amount of nutrients you need without supplements.   However, they may be right for you if you’re not eating well or consume less than 1600 calories a day, are vegan or vegetarian, or pregnant.

Tips to choose a dietary supplement:
1.)Avoid supplements that offer mega-doses, 100% of daily value is fine
2.) Look for USP on the label (U.S. Pharmacopeia) to ensure it meets safety standards
3.)Check expiration dates, they do expire
*Tips according to Mayo Clinic

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