A nutritional supplement is used to supply specific nutrients to the body that may otherwise not be ingested in adequate amounts by the individual. Nutritional supplements are also referred to as dietary supplements and are generally known to include a wide range of vitamins and multi-minerals, among other additions required for the body. According to the FDA, nutritional or dietary supplements fall under the category of foods, whereas other countries might classify them as drugs or under other classifications.
Currently there are more than 60,000 nutritional supplements available across the world, and common among them are used as multivitamins. According to the US National Institutes of Health, nutritional supplements should not be used to prevent or treat any kind of disorder, and doing so may lead to dangerous outcomes for the individual. According to the Institute, nutritional supplements must be prescribed to individuals who cannot or are unable to consume a balanced diet, as in such cases the supplements might offer some value to the individual.
If an individual consumes a balanced diet, nutrition and dietary supplements might not be necessary and may have no practical effect on the body. Overconsumption of certain supplements, especially those containing minerals or fat-soluble vitamins can cause increased mortality if it continues to build up in the body over a long period of time.
Currently, the FDA regulates nutritional supplements within the category of food and not as pharmaceutical drugs. According to the FDA, it is mandatory that nutritional and dietary supplements meet stringent specifications for purity, potency and constitution and it should have been produced, boxed, bundled, tagged and maintained under circumstances to avoid contamination.