The Best Dietary Supplements That Just Might Save Your Life

By Nicci Micco, Anna Roufos, "These Supplements May Save Your Life…," December 2006

The truth about vitamin and mineral diet supplements.

"I am glad that you alerted me to the danger of "overdosing" with calcium. My wife needs to know this! "

Remember, too: supplements should supplement a healthy diet, not stand in for nutrient-rich foods. Does rinsing with mouthwash give you license to toss your toothbrush? (Run that one by your dentist.) And before adding in pills or fortified foods, assess your diet: you may be doing better than you think, says Schupp. A registered dietitian (find one at can help you evaluate your eating habits and decide upon the best approach for meeting your needs.

Which is exactly what Schupp did for her client. “When she first came in, she said there was no way she could meet her needs without a supplement,” says Schupp. To show her a well-planned diet could provide adequate calcium, Schupp outlined options that included a dairy serving at every meal: breakfast might be yogurt and granola, or whole-grain cereal with skim milk; lunch, a slice of pizza or a sandwich with a slice of Swiss cheese. Schupp emphasized that even snacks, such as string cheese and skim lattes, contributed good amounts of calcium to her overall intake. On days she didn’t get it all in, she popped a calcium chew. “She used them only when she fell short, which is how they should be used,” says Schupp. “People are surprised by how easy it can be.”

Senior Editor Nicci Micco has a master’s degree in nutrition and food science.

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