Dietary Supplements: Navigating the Pharmacologic Influences of Nature’s Medicine

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The use of dietary supplements occurs in the majority of American adults >20 years old and has been reported to be on the rise by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. People are not only taking more dietary supplements, but taking them without the advice of a health care provider. With the lack of education time and focus on this topic, physicians need to know some evidence regarding the most common supplements used, how to understand dietary supplement labels, and where to find reputable information about dietary supplements. Vitamin D, Omega-3, and Glucosamine/ Chondroitin are reviewed here. Also, a description of the various components of a dietary supplement label is explained. Finally, a brief description of independent companies (Consumerlabs.com®, US Pharmacopedial Convention, Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database, and Natural Standard) as well as the federally run Office of Dietary Supplements are presented.