Guides to Vitamins and Herbal Supplements

Vitamins and Herbal SupplementsWith the bewildering number of vitamin and herbal supplements out there, I am often confused as to a product’s exact ingredients and sometimes its basic purity and safety. And as long as a supplement does not claim to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” its label can make claims of almost any sort, e.g. giving your kids straight As.

It is up to us then, parents and pediatricians, to do our best in deciding which supplements are necessary, in what amounts and which products are safe, pure and actually deliver what is stated on their labels. I thought it might be helpful to share those resources which I use regularly and are generally highly regarded, but about which some parents may be unaware.

The excellent Dietary Supplements Labels Database maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine is a solid resource with an exhaustive list of specific brands of vitamin and herbal supplements. It includes ingredients and manufacturer information along with very informative data sheets for many specific vitamins, the data sheet on Calcium being an excellent example. The Product Information page will also list whether it has passed independent product review testing by or USP. The Environmental Defense Fund provides an additional resource discussing the safety of fish oil supplements

Please feel free to discuss any medications or supplements your child is taking with your doctor anytime.

Dr. Sky Pittson