Are health supplements safe to take?

Even so, it's important to be careful when inserting anything into the body. Millstein explains: “Supplements can interact with other medications you're taking or pose risks if you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, or are going to have surgery.

Are health supplements safe to take?

Even so, it's important to be careful when inserting anything into the body. Millstein explains: “Supplements can interact with other medications you're taking or pose risks if you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, or are going to have surgery. A Look at Vitamins, Minerals, Botanicals, and More When you're looking for that bottle of vitamin C pills or fish oil, you might be wondering how well they'll work and if they're safe. The first thing you should ask yourself is if you need them in the first place.

More than half of Americans take one or more dietary supplements daily or from time to time. Supplements are available without a prescription and usually come in pill, powder, or liquid form. Common supplements include vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, also known as botanicals. People take these supplements to make sure they get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health.

However, not everyone needs to take supplements. Some supplements can have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medications. Supplements can also cause problems if you have certain health conditions. In addition, the effects of many supplements have not been tested in children, pregnant women and other groups.

Therefore, talk to your healthcare provider if you are thinking about taking dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are regulated by the U.S. UU. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food, not as drugs.

The label may indicate certain health benefits. However, unlike medications, supplements cannot claim to cure, treat, or prevent a disease. Evidence suggests that some supplements may improve health in different ways. The most popular nutritional supplements are multivitamins, calcium, and vitamins B, C and D.

Calcium contributes to bone health and vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamins C and E are antioxidant molecules that prevent cell damage and help maintain health. Women need iron during pregnancy and breastfed babies need vitamin D. Folic acid (400 micrograms daily), whether through supplements or fortified foods, is important for all women of child-bearing age.

Vitamin B12 keeps nerves and blood cells healthy. Research suggests that fish oil may promote heart health. Of the supplements that aren't derived from vitamins and minerals, Hopp says, “fish oil probably has the most scientific evidence to support its use. More studies are needed on the health effects of some other common supplements.

These include glucosamine (for joint pain) and herbal supplements such as echinacea (immune health) and flaxseed oil (digestion). Many supplements have mild effects with few risks. Vitamin K, for example, will reduce the ability of anticoagulants to work. St.

John's Wort is sometimes used to relieve depression, anxiety, or nerve pain, but it can also accelerate the breakdown of many medications, such as antidepressants and birth control pills, and make them less effective. Just because a supplement is promoted as “natural” doesn't necessarily mean it's safe. The herbs comfrey and kava, for example, can seriously damage the liver. For vitamins and minerals, check the% of the daily value (DV) of each nutrient to make sure you're not getting too much.

Too much of certain supplements can be harmful. Scientists still have a lot to learn, including about common vitamins. A recent study found unexpected evidence on vitamin E. Previous research suggested that men who took vitamin E supplements may have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Coates, director of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. That's why it's important to conduct clinical studies of supplements to confirm their effects. Because supplements are regulated as foods, not as drugs, the FDA does not evaluate the quality of supplements or evaluate their effects on the body. If a product is found to be unsafe after it hits the market, the FDA can restrict or prohibit its use.

Manufacturers are also responsible for the purity of the product and must accurately list the ingredients and their quantities. However, there is no regulatory agency to ensure that the labels match what's on the bottles. You risk consuming less or sometimes more of the ingredients listed. All of the ingredients may not even be on the list.

Some independent organizations perform quality tests on supplements and offer stamps of approval. This does not guarantee that the product works or is safe; it only ensures that the product was manufactured correctly and contains the ingredients listed. The MyDS app provides the latest information on supplements and allows you to keep track of the vitamins, minerals, herbs and other products you take. You can even keep track of the supplements your parents, spouse, or children are taking.

For more consumer health news and information, visit health, nih, gov. National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 USA. Department of Health and Human Services. A lack of knowledge about the risks of supplements can sometimes lead to potential and unforeseen problems.

Because of these concerns, many cancer experts recommend that people avoid dietary supplements while receiving cancer treatment. Generally, adding a little more vitamin D during the boring winter months or supplementing it with a protein shake when you're traveling won't do you any harm. However, most people who have side effects, illnesses, or drug interactions from dietary supplements don't call the poison control center or supplement manufacturer. This site includes fact sheets and videos on dietary supplements for the public, educators, and health professionals.

You can help reduce your risk of cancer by making healthy choices, such as eating well, staying active, and not smoking. Botanical supplements (such as garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, echinacea, and others) are made from plant material, so many of them are sold as “natural products.”. Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse to review everything you take to make sure that supplements don't cause harmful effects, either alone or in combination with regular prescription or over-the-counter medications. While the study's findings are annual estimates based on emergency department visits to a relatively small number of hospitals, they reflect the increasing use of dietary supplements and micronutrients.

In addition, dietary supplement packages are not required to include possible side effects, nor are there any rules on the maximum size of pills (an obvious risk for older people). Healthcare providers can also forget to ask patients about using natural or over-the-counter dietary supplements. However, dietary supplements aren't totally safe and taking them can pose risks, especially for people being treated for cancer. While it's relatively easy to analyze a single supplement to see how much vitamin you're taking, it becomes more difficult to keep track when you're taking multiple supplements, especially when the products contain multiple components or patented blends.