Dietary Supplements

Harmless, Helpful, or Hurtful?

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

Are you looking for a healthy body? Quick weight loss with no dieting? Top athletic performance without breaking a sweat? Websites, infomercials, magazine ads, and celebrity tweets make an astonishing array of claims about the improvement to health and performance that will come from using dietary supplements.

If you take supplements, you’re not alone. The majority of Americans take at least one dietary supplement every day. Consumers have tens of thousands of supplements to choose from, spending an estimated $32 billion each year on such products. By law, the US Food and Drug Administration has limited regulatory powers over dietary supplements. Many supplements are manufactured overseas in nations with loose quality-control standards. Scientific evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of supplements is minimal, and in some cases, supplements have led to serious illness and death.

Registered nurse Connie Goldsmith takes an in-depth look at the wide world of dietary supplements—vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, weight-loss products, performance-enhancing products, energy boosters, and more. What do doctors, dieticians, and other experts have to say? Is it ever safe to take a supplement? What are the red flags to watch for when considering these products? Goldsmith gives teens the tools to be smart consumers, urging all readers to consult with a qualified medical professional when considering any supplement.

Format Your Price Add
Available at all major wholesalers and distributors. Save 25% when you buy direct!
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Copyright 2016
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 96
Publication Date 2015-08-01
Text Type Argument
BISACS YAN024020, YAN024000, YAN051070
Dewey 615.1
Dimensions 6 x 9
Lexile 1180
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, Source notes, and Table of contents

Author: Connie Goldsmith

Connie Goldsmith is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a master of public administration degree in health care. She has written numerous books for YA readers and nearly two hundred magazine articles. Her recent books include Kiyo Sato: From a WWII Japanese Internment Camp to a Life of Service (2020), a Junior Library Guild selection; Running on Empty: Sleeplessness in American Teens (2021); Understanding Coronaviruses: SARS, MERS, and the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021); and Bombs Over Bikini: The World's First Nuclear Disaster (2014), a Junior Library Guild selection, a Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, an Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California Distinguished Book, and an SCBWI Crystal Kite Winner. She lives in Sacramento, California. Visit her website at



“Written by a nurse . . . this guide to dietary supplements is packed with scientifically documented, research-based information. . . . The topic is timely and provides the facts for the savvy consumer.”—VOYA

Kirkus Reviews

“[A] balanced exploration of a timely topic. Equally apt for research projects and as a single go-to source of information.”―Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“With this well-written and solidly researched title, health writer Goldsmith…makes the subject compelling…..A useful resource, ideal for health class reports.”―School Library Journal