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What Are Dietary Supplements Really Good For?

dietary supplementsIt seems every few months the dietary supplement industry gets slammed in the prime time news over some new study claiming that supplements are useless or, worse yet, dangerous. It’s a relatively natural rhythm that we in the industry have become accustomed to and no longer fear.

Why are we no longer afraid of negative research reports and slanted news stories? It’s simple, really. You consumers have caught on to the real, authentic benefit of taking dietary supplements. Now, we’ve known for quite some time that our Swanson Health Products customers are some of the brightest and most educated consumers around. It’s just that now we have proof.

The proof lies in the fact that across the board, people are still supplementing their diets with added vitamins, minerals and herbals. Consumers have learned to read these new research reports with a discerning eye, just as any good scientist questions the results of a one-off study with no prior research backing up the findings with similar results.

But back to the main point of my post today... Just what is the role of dietary supplements? Is it to cure disease? No, clearly not. Is it to prevent disease? Again, no. The main role of supplements has been, and always will be, exactly what the name implies: supplementing the nutritional profile of your daily diet.

As long as there are inadequate diets, there will be a place for dietary supplements. My post today was inspired by an article written by Stephen Daniells. In his article, he discusses another recent study that never made it to the headlines of your local news.

The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging and was entitled, “Vitamin status in elderly people in relation to the use of nutritional supplements.” The study arrived at a quite simple—and quite eloquent—conclusion:

These results indicate that use of supplements significantly improved the status of several vitamins in elderly people. Due to age-related problems concerning the intake and digestion of nutrients, a moderate, regular supplementation might be a useful option for older people who are otherwise unable to satisfy their micronutrient requirements. (

After four decades in this industry, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As always, I wish you the very best of health.


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