Taking dietary supplements can have a range of side effects, from mild to life-threatening.
Skin rashes, shortness of breath, diarrhea, severe joint or muscle pain, difficulty speaking and blood in the urine are all possible adverse events that may result from the use of supplements. These symptoms can vary in severity and may be caused by interactions between supplements and other drugs. Unlike prescription or over-the-counter drugs, the U.
S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. It is up to manufacturers to ensure that their products do not contain contaminants or impurities, are properly labeled and contain what they claim. In addition, research has linked daily doses of more than 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium with a higher risk of death from cancer.
However, people who consumed adequate amounts of magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and K had a lower risk of death, but only if they got those nutrients from food rather than supplements. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides detailed information on the benefits and risks of individual vitamins and minerals, as well as herbal supplements. If you are managing an underlying health condition (especially if you are taking medications) or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to talk to your health care team before adding any new supplement to your regimen. Here are seven popular supplements that should be taken with caution: Vitamin D, St.
John's Wort, Calcium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Iron, Vitamin B12 and Probiotics. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the body and is critical for health and well-being. Vitamin D supplements are popular because it is difficult (if not impossible for some) to get enough from food. However, enthusiasm for vitamin D supplements is outpacing the evidence and high doses can cause additional calcium absorption and lead to muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones.
St. John's Wort is a plant that is used as tea or in capsules with purported benefits for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, kidney and lung problems, obsessive-compulsive disorder, wound healing and more. While some studies suggest that St. John's Wort may be effective in treating mild depression, it can interact with medications such as weight-loss drugs orlistat (Xenical, Alli), statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), thiazide diuretics such as Hygroton, Lozol and Microzide and corticosteroids such as prednisone (Deltasone, Rayos and Sterapred).
Calcium is essential for a strong skeleton but too much can be harmful. More than 2500 mg per day for adults ages 19 to 50 and more than 2000 mg per day for people age 51 and older can cause problems. Calcium supplements carry risks such as hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil capsules and have been linked to a range of health benefits including reducing inflammation and improving heart health.
However, taking too much omega-3 fatty acids can increase the risk of bleeding or stroke. Iron is an essential mineral found in red meat that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron supplements can help treat iron deficiency anemia but taking too much iron can lead to nausea, vomiting and constipation. Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells but taking too much vitamin B12 can lead to acne or rosacea.
Probiotics are live bacteria found in yogurt or supplements that help maintain a healthy digestive system but taking too many probiotics can lead to bloating or gas.