Is it Safe to Take Dietary Supplements? An Expert's Guide

Before taking a dietary supplement it is important to talk to your health professional so they can help you decide which ones if any are right for you.

Is it Safe to Take Dietary Supplements? An Expert's Guide

Before taking a dietary supplement, it is important to talk to your health professional. They can help you decide which supplements, if any, are right for you. You can also contact the manufacturer for product information and take it only as described on the label. If a supplement sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Credible supplements have peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports their use and effectiveness. Also, make sure that the recommended dosage is backed by science and analysed in supporting studies. More doses don't always equal better results, so be careful with megadoses. All of the supplements that InsideTracker recommends are backed by numerous studies and come with personalized dosing instructions.

Talk to your doctor if you are taking medications, are pregnant or breastfeeding. When it comes to supplements, there's so much hype about their potential benefits that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. While it is true that vitamins and minerals are essential for health, it is not true that taking them in the form of pills, capsules or powder, especially in megadoses, is necessary or safe. For one thing, dietary supplements can sometimes interact with each other, as well as with over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. In addition, unlike drugs, the U.

S. UU. The United States Drug Administration (FDA) (Food &) is not authorized to review the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements 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 other words, the regulation of dietary supplements is much less stringent than that of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Used correctly, some supplements can improve your health, but others may be ineffective or even harmful. For example, a systematic review that analyzes the possible effects of nutritional supplements on cardiovascular health, mainly heart attacks and strokes, suggests that few supplements help prevent heart disease; only omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid were effective. The same was true with dietary changes, except for a low-salt diet. Other research on self-reported dietary habits by a group of Americans linked daily doses of more than 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium with a higher risk of death from cancer (although other studies suggest otherwise). In addition, the data showed that 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. National Institutes of Health (NIH) fact sheets can provide detailed information on the benefits and risks of individual vitamins and minerals, as well as herbal supplements.

And if you're managing an underlying health condition (especially if you're taking medications) or are pregnant or breastfeeding, play it safe and talk to your health care team before adding any new supplement to your regimen. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the body and having enough is critical to health and well-being as it offers the promise of protecting bones and preventing bone diseases such as osteoporosis according to the NIH. Vitamin D supplements are popular because it's difficult (if not impossible for some) to get enough from food. In addition, our bodies produce vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to direct sunlight but the increase in time spent indoors and the widespread use of sunscreen have minimized the amount of vitamin D that many of us get from exposure to the sun. However, vitamin D supplements may benefit certain people including those at risk of a deficiency such as people with darker skin living with certain health conditions and older adults according to MedlinePlus. The most recent consensus statement from the American Geriatrics Society specifically suggests that people over 65 can help reduce the risk of fractures and falls if they supplement their diet with at least 1000 IU of vitamin D per day in addition to taking calcium supplements and eating foods rich in vitamin D.Keep in mind that vitamin D supplements and medications can interact with each other.

Drugs that don't mix well with vitamin D include orlistat (Xenical Alli) a weight-loss medication several statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) thiazide diuretics (such as Hygroton Lozol and Microzide) and corticosteroids such as prednisone (Deltasone Rayos Sterapred) according to the NIH. St John's Wort is a plant that is used as tea or in capsules with supposed benefits for depression attention deficit hyperactivity disorder menopausal symptoms insomnia kidney and lung problems obsessive-compulsive disorder wound healing and more says the NIH. St John's Wort will be effective in treating mild depression. For example a review of short-term studies analyzed 27 clinical trials with about 3800 patients and suggested that the herbal remedy worked as well as certain antidepressants in reducing the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. However experts recommend taking St John's Wort with care if at all. The biggest problem with St John's Wort according to Dr Denise Millstine internist in the integrative medicine department at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix Arizona is its potential interactions with other medications including antidepressants blood thinners birth control pills HIV medications chemotherapy drugs anticoagulants antiplatelet drugs immunosuppressants anticonvulsants antipsychotics antiretrovirals antifungals antibiotics antihypertensives beta blockers calcium channel blockers diuretics statins steroids thyroid hormones warfarin etc. In addition St John's Wort may cause photosensitivity nausea vomiting fatigue restlessness anxiety agitation confusion dizziness dry mouth headache increased sweating sexual dysfunction stomach upset etc.

It may also interfere with laboratory tests such as those used for measuring thyroid function liver function kidney function etc. In conclusion while supplement trends come and go there are seven supplements that have historically been popular including Vitamin D St John's Wort Omega 3 fatty acids Calcium Magnesium Zinc Vitamin A Vitamin K etc. It is important to talk to your health professional before taking any dietary supplement so they can help you decide which ones if any are right for you. Also make sure that the recommended dosage is backed by science so you can get maximum benefit without any harmful side effects. It is important to remember that dietary supplements should never replace food or medication prescribed by your doctor but rather should be used as an additional source of nutrients when needed. Additionally always read labels carefully before taking any supplement so you know exactly what you're getting. In summary dietary supplements can be beneficial when taken correctly but it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen so they can help you decide which ones if any are right for you.