do I need supplements?

Supplements: Should I be taking them?

“The huge range of dietary supplements now available makes the area something of a minefield for consumers…Even individual supplements can come in a range of doses and a number of different formulations, making it hard to know what is worth taking and what isn’t.”

Supplements: Who Needs Them



Are you confused about supplements? Want to know what you should be taking and what’s right for you?


If the report conducted by the NHS is anything to go by, then it’s clear you’re not alone. With so many mixed messages, marketing and advertising campaigns out there, and so much contradictory information available on-line, it can be hard to know where to go and who to ask for a reliable answer.


So, who can you go to for trustworthy advice on dietary supplements?


Ideally, you need to be looking to medical professionals, who can ask you relevant questions about your health and already have a fuller understanding of your personal medical history, like your GP or pharmacist. Advice you can trust is the best way to improve your understanding of supplements and learn more about what you should be taking.


Self-care also plays a valuable role when it comes to considering your choice of dietary supplements.


NHS Choices suggests everyone needs to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Do I really need it?
  • What do I think this product can actually do?
  • Is there solid evidence suggesting it will work?
  • Is it likely to cause me harm?
  • What do reliable sources of information say about this product?
  • Even if it could be of benefit, is it worth the money?
  • Is this a problem my doctor can help me with instead?


When it comes to supplements, it’s best to exercise a bit of caution and try to avoid getting sucked in by sales techniques, while you make your own enquiries into the truth behind the claims.


Supplements need to be treated in exactly the same way as any other product you are considering parting with your money for. You need to think about it carefully by asking your GP or pharmacist plenty of questions, including where they recommend you go for more information.


NHS Choices recommends the following websites as reliable dietary supplement sources:



We advise that if you are considering taking a dietary supplement, especially for the first time, that you consult your GP or pharmacist beforehand. As well as offering you advice, they will also be able to offer you alternative suggestions for other forms of treatment, depending on your medical condition.


For out of hours GP information in East Berkshire, please click here. Alternatively, you can find information about out of hours pharmacies here.