It's essential for people of all ages to consult their doctor before taking supplements, but it's even more important for older adults, according to Dr. Lauren Grossman, MD. Several studies have linked higher doses of supplements to potentially life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease, skin cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer, as well as milder symptoms such as headaches and abdominal discomfort. So what is driving the supplement trend? Experts believe that increased media coverage of health issues is a major factor.
At one point, experts thought that vitamin D supplements could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and intestinal polyps. Therefore, it is essential to speak with a doctor, inform them about existing health conditions, and then seek advice on which supplement to take. Dr. Chhajer advises those who take supplements regularly to be aware of the warning signs and stop taking them immediately.
It is also important to check with your healthcare provider if you have any chronic medical conditions or take any other regular medications before starting any new tablets, including vitamin supplements. In high doses, vitamin A can cause liver toxicity; it is not recommended to drink alcohol when taking any vitamin A supplement. However, the downside of this health trend is that many people take supplements without consulting a doctor and with the false belief that they will only benefit the body and never have any side effects. Bimal Chhajer, former AIIMS consultant and founder of the SAAL Heart Institute, warns against this. Some common and popular supplements that people consume without consulting a doctor are vitamin D, vitamin B12, B6 protein supplements with vitamin B2, minerals such as iron and calcium, probiotics and fish oil. In the United Kingdom, calcium and vitamin D supplements are recommended for perimenopausal or postmenopausal women at risk of osteoporosis, as they have been shown to improve bone mineral density and prevent fractures.
In a 2004 study, vitamin C supplements in diabetic women led to increased mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Internet searches, the availability of different supplements and interesting marketing tactics drive the need to buy these products. Health Canada recommends that everyone over 50 years of age take a 400 IU daily vitamin D supplement and suggests that everyone increase their calcium intake through dietary sources. It is clear that supplements can be beneficial when taken in moderation and under the guidance of a doctor. However, it is important to remember that taking too many supplements can be dangerous and can lead to serious health complications. Therefore, it is essential to consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement.