Malnutrition can lead to unplanned weight loss, a low body mass index (BMI), and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For many people, a balanced diet should provide enough nutrients, such as calories, proteins and vitamins, to stay healthy. However, there are some medical conditions that may require additional treatments beyond what can be obtained through diet or lifestyle changes alone. It is well-known that taking high-dose supplements to prevent or cure major chronic diseases (such as heart disease and cancer) can be harmful.
Therefore, it is important to report any complementary medications (including vitamin and mineral supplements) you are taking when you visit a health professional. And if you need to take a supplement, it's best to take multivitamins at the recommended dietary level, rather than single-nutrient supplements or high-dose multivitamins. Vitamin C is suggested as a cure for the common cold, and vitamin E is widely promoted as a beneficial antioxidant to help prevent heart disease. Generally, a dietician will evaluate your medical history, your nutritional needs, and your taste and dislikes before recommending a product to you. This could be because the vitamins and minerals in foods are also influenced by other components of the food, not just the “active ingredient”.Although taking a general “broad-spectrum” vitamin and mineral supplement “just in case” poses little health risk and may benefit a person whose diet is restricted and lacks variety, taking vitamin and mineral supplements instead of following a nutritious diet is not recommended.
In addition to vitamins, dietary supplements may contain minerals, herbs or other botanical ingredients, amino acids, enzymes, and many other ingredients. Some dietary supplements can help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients if you don't eat a variety of nutritious foods. Folic acid is a B vitamin that can also be found in some fortified foods, such as bread and breakfast cereals. The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMP) that companies must follow to help ensure the identity, purity, concentration and composition of their dietary supplements. When vitamins are taken as supplements, they are introduced into the body at levels that could never be achieved with the healthiest diet.
The federal government can take legal action against companies and websites that sell dietary supplements when companies make false or misleading statements about their products, if they promote them as treatments or cures for diseases, or if their products are not safe. Feeling under pressure doesn't automatically lead to a vitamin deficiency, so taking a vitamin supplement won't necessarily make feelings of stress go away. The FDA is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and drugs, but the FDA regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs.