Are There Any Risks to Taking Health Supplements?

Learn about potential risks associated with taking health supplements such as vitamins or minerals. Understand why it is important to consult with your doctor before taking any supplement or vitamin.

Are There Any Risks to Taking Health Supplements?

In recent years, the use of health supplements has become increasingly popular. People are turning to vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements to improve their overall health and wellbeing. While these supplements can be beneficial, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with taking them. In fact, large doses of some vitamins or minerals can be dangerous and even harmful.

For example, the body cannot eliminate large doses of vitamin A. If taken in excess, it can reach toxic levels, which can damage organs and interfere with certain medications. Manufacturers can add vitamins, minerals and other supplement ingredients to the foods you eat, especially breakfast cereals and beverages. As a result, you may be consuming more of these ingredients than you think, and more may not be better.

Taking more than you need costs more and may also increase the risk of side effects. For example, too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, and cause birth defects. Too much iron causes nausea and vomiting and can damage the liver and other organs. Weight-loss products accounted for a quarter of all emergency department visits with a single product and disproportionately affected women, while men were more likely to suffer adverse effects from products advertised for sexual enhancement and bodybuilding.

Energy-boosting products accounted for another 10% of these visits. Get helpful tips and guidance on everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss, from core strengthening exercises to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and advances from experts at Harvard Medical School. A lack of knowledge about the risks of supplements can sometimes lead to potential and unforeseen problems.

It is important to understand that dietary supplements are not regulated in the same way as prescription drugs. Its purpose is to inform the doctors who prescribe the drug and the patients who take the medication about the risks and benefits of these substances. For more information on what constitutes a healthy eating routine, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate are good sources of information. This fact sheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides information that should not replace medical advice.

You can share this record with your healthcare providers to discuss what is best for your overall health. Vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulants, while vitamin E may increase their potency, increasing the risk of bleeding. Healthcare providers can also forget to ask patients about using natural or over-the-counter dietary supplements. Also, be careful when giving supplements to a child, unless recommended by your healthcare provider.

Tell your healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and dieticians) about any dietary supplements you are taking. In some cases, the FDA has identified supplements that contain prescription drugs and other active ingredients that are not listed on the label, increasing the risk of side effects and additional reactions. Some supplements may increase the risk of bleeding or, if taken before surgery, may change the response to anesthesia. A lack of knowledge about the risks associated with taking vitamins and supplements can lead to potential problems that are unforeseen.

In addition, dietary supplement packages are not required to include possible side effects or rules on maximum pill size (an obvious risk for older people). However, supplements cannot replace the variety of foods that are important for a healthy eating routine. For many people, a healthy lifestyle means more than just following a good diet and getting enough exercise. Vitamins, supplements, and complementary nutritional products are also part of this plan.

It is important to remember that health supplements should always be taken in moderation. Before taking any supplement or vitamin it is important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first. They will be able to provide advice on what is best for your overall health.