As we learned in our lecture, a supplement is any product intended to supplement the diet that contains one or more of the following:
- a vitamin
- a mineral
- an amino acid
- a herb, botanical, or plant extract
It is estimated that over 50% of the US population takes dietary supplements, accounting for more than $30 billion annually in sales. There is disagreement in the scientific and medical communities regarding whether supplements are beneficial and should be prescribed. Added to this, the FDA does not closely monitor most supplements, unless there is evidence that a supplement is dangerous or is marketed with illegal claims. Manufacturers are allowed to make broad claims about the benefits of their supplement, as long as they do not state the supplement will prevent, cure, or treat disease. Thus, it is common to see manufacturers market their product with unproven claims, e.g. the supplement will increase energy, enhance performance, reduce body fat, promote weight loss, eliminate signs of aging, relieve stress, enhance mood, promote bowel health, reduce fatigue, prevent premenstrual symptoms, and the list goes on. In addition, the quality, purity, and consistency of dietary supplements are also not closely monitored by the FDA, resulting in wide variation in product quality.
This discussion forum provides an opportunity for you to learn more about and critically evaluate supplements for yourself, using actual research and course materials. For this discussion forum, you will be researching a supplement of interest, using your textbook, credible websites, and 3 scientific research articles (from journals), and reporting your findings to the class, using the template below. Please note that the research article component is not an option. You will lose a significant number of points if you do not use actual research articles. You can access online versions of most research articles by using PubMed, CINAHL, and other such search engines.
- What is this supplement used for?
- What health claims are made about this product? How credible are these claims?
- What are the potential benefits of using this supplement?
- What are the risks/hazards of using this supplement?
- What research has been done on this supplement? Make sure to walk through 3 actual research articles from journals to respond to this question!
- What was researched?
- What was found?
- What did the authors conclude?
- Do we know the effective dose?
- Is there a recommended daily intake for this supplement?
- Does it vary by age and gender?
- Are there special populations, e.g. pregnant women, people with renal disease, children, etc, that should avoid this supplement? Why?
- Is this a supplement you would take? Why or why not?
- How could you get the same nutrients without taking a supplement, i.e. which foods or drinks could you consume?
- What are your thoughts about the use of supplements – whether they are beneficial and should be widely used? Should they be regulated?
Make sure you answer each of the above questions using your text, research articles, and credible sources. Cite your sources in APA style. Note that this is not a paper. You are free to copy and paste the above questions into the body of your post and to use lists and bullets for your responses. Just make sure to adequately explain yourself.