Food and Drug Administration (FDA) characterizes all herbal, vitamin
and mineral supplements (including diet pills) as "dietary supplements." Dietary
supplements come in all shapes and sizes—pills, gel capsules,
liquid and powder—and they can include any number of ingredients.
Most often, supplements will be vitamins, minerals, amino acids,
herbs or plants (also referred to as botanicals), or a mixture of
The tricky thing about dietary supplements is that
they are not approved by the FDA before they go on the market.
The FDA gives these supplements
time on the shelves and stores, to see if consumers have any problems
when they take them. Essentially, you are a "guinea pig" in
a test lab when you buy and use these supplements. Of course, some
supplements have been tested, so check out the label to make sure.
of "miracle supplements." Any drugs advertised as
producing "quick results" or "miracle cures" are
probably not going to have the effect they say. Ask your doctor
if you feel skeptical about any type of supplement you might
Some types of herbs are a part of complementary
and alternative medicine treatments. Again, most of these herbal products have
not been tested
for health risks of for efficacy. Although many herbal products
help some women, for example some herbal supplements are recommended
for the relief of symptoms associated with menopause, none of
the effects of these herbs have been scientifically proven.