Taking dietary supplements can be beneficial for your health, but it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that can occur.
Skin rashes, shortness of breath, diarrhea, severe joint or muscle pain, difficulty speaking, and blood in the urine are some of the adverse events that can result from taking supplements. Manufacturers may add vitamins, minerals and other supplement ingredients to the foods you eat, so you may be consuming more than you think. Taking more than you need can increase the risk of side effects and cost more.
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. St. John's Wort may also reduce the effectiveness of other medications.
It is important to remember that dietary supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or alleviate the effects of diseases. Over the past decade, the Federal Trade Commission has filed more than 100 legal challenges against claims about the effectiveness of supplements. While some supplements can improve your health when used correctly, others may be ineffective or even harmful. Side effects of dietary supplements occur more often if people take high doses or use them instead of medications prescribed by their healthcare provider. A systematic review that analyzes the possible effects of nutritional supplements on cardiovascular health suggests that few supplements help prevent heart disease; only omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid were effective.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine if dietary supplements are effective before they are marketed. You're more likely to have side effects from dietary supplements if you take them in high doses or instead of prescription drugs, or if you take many different supplements. In fact, there are many ways in which an essential nutrient supplement can produce an adverse effect. The table below shows the maximum daily intake of key nutrients that the Institute of Medicine has determined is unlikely to pose a risk of adverse health effects. However, most people who have side effects, illnesses, or drug interactions from dietary supplements don't call the poison control center or supplement manufacturer. It is essential to understand that taking dietary supplements can be beneficial for your health but it is also important to be aware of potential side effects that may occur.
To avoid any potential risks associated with taking dietary supplements, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.