If you’ve changed your supplement routine since the pandemic, you’re not alone. according to a 2020 survey conducted by Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)Of course, over 43 percent of dietary supplement users have switched things up. Of those who updated their rules, 91 percent reported increasing their supplement intake, either by adding new supplements, taking the same supplement more regularly, or increasing their dosage. Overall immune support and health and wellness benefits are cited as top reasons.
But while supplements are often touted as a way to make sure you meet your daily nutritional needs, they can cause problems if you’re not careful. Like medications, dietary supplements can affect the way your body works, which can cause adverse effects in some people. Article published in the May 2022 issue american pharmacist,
So, how do you know if you’re overdoing it with supplements? Read on to find out.
What are the potential health benefits of dietary supplements?
,[In general]A supplement is something that you are not getting enough of through food,” says Rohit Moghe, PharmD, CDCES, a pharmacist with Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic in Philadelphia, and member of American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM),
To fill these nutritional gaps, many people turn to gummies, capsules, powders, tinctures, and even saline solutions delivered through a needle (known as IV therapy). .
In Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act 1994Congress has defined supplements as products (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet, which contain one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, etc.). amino acidsor other substances) or their components, are intended to be taken by mouth as a tablet, capsule, tablet, or liquid, and are labeled as a dietary supplement.
While many people are able to meet their nutritional needs through their diet, others may benefit from supplements. especially those who face greater exposure to nutrients shortcomingsThose with high needs (such as children, teens, and pregnant and lactating women), who struggle to absorb nutrients (such as older adults, obese individuals, and people with chronic conditions), and who follow restrictive diets (such as vegetarians and vegans), an . According to Articles published in January 2018 in Nutrients,
For example, a vitamin B12 supplement may be a good idea for older adults and vegetarians. vegetarian meal, Vitamin B12 helps keep your blood and nerve cells healthy, and plays an important role in making DNA National Institutes of Health (NIH), It is found naturally in animal foods, which means that vegetarians and vegans may not get enough through diet alone. According to the NIH, older adults can also be deficient in vitamin B12, as many people don’t have enough hydrochloric acid in their stomachs to absorb it. Therefore, both groups may benefit from vitamin B12 supplementation.
What are the risks of dietary supplements?
A common concern about dietary supplements is that the industry, in general, is less regulated. Unlike drugs, supplements do not need to be approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold or marketed.
The new law, proposed by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, and Mike Brown, a Republican from Indiana, aims to improve the safety of dietary supplements by requiring manufacturers to list their products under the FDA. Dietary Supplements Listing Act 2022 A bipartisan initiative. The new law, which refers to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, states that there were approximately 4,000 dietary supplements marketed in the United States in 1994, but the industry has boomed and there are now 50,000 to 80,000 products available. .
Meanwhile, consumers cannot be sure that the supplements they are taking are safe or effective.
Even though a supplement is generally considered safe, it may not be safe. you, “Most vitamins and minerals carry a risk of harm with dosage, and the risk is based on the individual nutrient and the patient,” says Ravi Tripathi, MD, medical director of critical care services for Ross Heart Hospital at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. When it comes to supplements and risks, “there is no one size fits all,” he says.
For example, people with an inherited condition are said to hemochromatosis One has to be careful with iron supplements, as hemochromatosis causes toxic levels of iron to build up in their bodies, notes NIH, And while most people don’t get enough potassium Even when diet and supplements are combined, NIHFor example, people with chronic kidney disease can develop abnormally high levels of potassium in their blood. This condition, known as hyperkalemiaCan cause serious heart problems if left untreated, according to National Kidney Foundation,
Supplements can pose risks even in otherwise healthy people. according to NIHYou are more likely to get side effects from dietary supplements if you take them at high doses or use several different supplements.
Symptoms of your body taking over supplementation vary depending on the nutrient and the amount taken, and may be visible only in a blood test. However, there are some physical signs to watch for. As of May 2022 american pharmacist Articles to watch for, Common symptoms may include:
- severe weakness
- Tremors of earthquake
- Constipation or diarrhea
- inability to exercise or perform routine tasks
5 Common Supplements That People Overdo
1. Vitamin D
Why it’s good for you: vitamin D (also known as the “sunshine vitamin”) helps your body absorb calcium, making it an important nutrient for bone health. Your body also needs vitamin D to carry messages between your brain and your body and fight bacteria and viruses. NIH,
Why are you overdoing it: On the one hand, 40 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient, per blood test (when serum levels are less than 50 nmol/L), according to Findings published in June 2018 curs, The Reason? Most of us are not getting enough sunlight, notes the NIH. Take vitamin d supplement May help — and CRN surveys show this supplement is becoming more popular — but it’s important to watch your dosage to make sure you don’t get more than 100 micrograms (mcg) a day. According to the NIH, overdosing is almost always caused by taking supplements, as by exposure to sunlight or by eating foods rich in vitamin D.
Why it’s good for you: Iron is a mineral your body needs to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, according to NIH, It also helps your body make hormones.
Why are you overdoing it: Iron supplements are often recommended for young women to help make up for the iron lost during menstruation. but according to Cleveland ClinicMany women continue to take iron-rich supplements even after menopause, when menstruation stops and iron needs decrease.
risk: Taking too much iron can cause Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and diarrhea, per NIH. Taking an excessive amount of iron can also cause swelling in the stomach lining and ulcer, Although rare, extremely high amounts of iron (in the hundreds or thousands of milligrams) can cause organ failure, coma, convulsions and death, according to the NIH.
3. Vitamin A
Why are you overdoing it: It’s too easy for most people to score plenty of vitamin A, says the Cleveland Clinic. If you eat cereal for breakfast and carrots or sweet potatoes at lunch, and then take supplements for eye health, you’ve probably exceeded the recommended amount. ,
risk: High levels of vitamin A can cause severe headaches, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches and coordination issues, notes the NIH.
4. Vitamin C
Why it’s good for you: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. according to NIHYour body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein important for wound healing.
Why are you overdoing it: The CRN survey found that vitamin C supplements have seen a major increase since the pandemic. However, most people can get enough vitamin C through food. In fact, 1 cup of strawberries, chopped cayenne pepper, or broccoli will provide the daily required amount, per Mayo Clinic,
risk: taking too much vitamin c According to the Mayo Clinic, it can cause diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps. May also interact with Vitamin C supplements cancer treatment Like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, according to the NIH. with this previous studies found that men who took vitamin C supplements had a higher risk for development of kidney stones,
Why it’s good for you: Calcium is a mineral that builds and maintains strong bones. According to this, it also plays a role in nerve function, circulation and hormone release. NIH,
Why are you overdoing it: You may be tempted to take calcium supplements to protect your bones, but according to Cleveland ClinicIt’s surprisingly easy to overdo it. Especially if you’re already getting calcium from your diet.
risk: According to the Cleveland Clinic, excess calcium has been linked to constipation, kidney stones, kidney failure, heart problems and cognitive issues.
How to talk to your doctor about supplements
Experts often recommend talking to your doctor before trying supplements. Unfortunately, many physicians and nurse practitioners are not as knowledgeable in this area. “I see a lot” [healthcare professionals] They aren’t fully prepared to answer their patients’ questions, and they tell them that supplements are a waste of money, when there is probably a product that might actually work for your intended use,” says Dr. Moghe it is said.
If you’re interested in adding supplements to your diet, Moghe suggests talking to a trained physician. integrative medicine or nutritional medicine, pharmacist, naturopath, or registered dietitian. You can check the directories of National Board of Physician Nutritionists And this American Board of Physician Specialties To find a healthcare professional that works for your needs.
A simple blood test can tell if you’re deficient in specific nutrients, but routine blood work Your annual physical usually doesn’t include these tests, although certain nutritional deficiencies can cause changes in these labs, according to Rush University, You will need to request these blood tests when you visit your doctor. A physician trained in integrative medicine and/or nutritional medicine, a pharmacist, naturopath, or registered dietitian may be able to provide suggestions and a tailored approach to getting the right level of nutrients for you, and figure out whether it makes sense to test for specific. vitamin deficiency Given his unique lifestyle, diet and health.