Dietary Supplements, Powders and Other Formulas

Updated:Mar 18,2014
AHA Scientific Position

The American Heart Association does not recommend using vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements to treat or prevent heart disease and stroke. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.


Dietary supplements, protein powders and other formulas are promoted as food substitutes for losing weight, as health aids and for a variety of other reasons. People are often confused or misled by the many health claims related to these products. Often just one research study or several poorly designed studies are used to support these claims.

Dietary supplements are also inadequately regulated to ensure the public’s safety. Often it’s not possible to be sure what they contain. For example, studies of one popular constituent found in multiple products showed a 1000-fold difference in the amount contained — and some products had none.

The benefits of supplements seem to be limited to people whose diets lack enough specific nutrients. Protein powders may not increase muscle size, strength or performance any more than the same amount of protein from fat-free milk or yogurt. And often they’re more expensive.

Related AHA Scientific Statements:

Nutrition Center

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