The most commonly used vitamin supplements in the United States include vitamin C, vitamin D and forms of vitamin B, according to a 2013 survey cited by ConsumerLabs.com. Other supplements commonly used by respondents include fish oil, coenzyme Q10 and calcium.
Nutritional supplements account for upwards of $32 million annually in sales, reports Forbes. The Food and Drug Administration notes that it does not evaluate manufacturers' claims of product efficacy or otherwise regulate these substances as it does pharmaceuticals. The manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their safety, which leaves room for them to make sometimes outrageous health claims, says CNN. The lucrative nature of the industry and the lack of regulation leave room for shady business practices and sometimes injurious products.
Carefully supplementing a diet that lacks certain vitamins and minerals is a good idea, according to WebMD. However, supplements are not risk-free. Taking too much sometimes has serious health consequences. Consumers must educate themselves and weigh the need versus the potential health risks.