The Benefits and Risks of Taking Supplements: An Expert's Perspective

A balanced diet is usually enough to provide the nutrients your body needs. However, supplements can be beneficial in certain situations, such as when your diet is lacking or when you have a health condition that triggers a deficiency. Manufacturers can add vitamins, minerals, and other supplement ingredients to the foods you eat, such as breakfast cereals and beverages. Taking more than you need can be costly and may increase the risk of side effects.

For example, too much vitamin A can cause headaches, liver damage, reduced bone strength, and birth defects. Excess iron can cause nausea and vomiting and can damage the liver and other organs. Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects on the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and damage or complicate your health. For example, taking too many supplements could have harmful, even fatal, consequences.

It's important to note that supplements aren't regulated in the same way as medications by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, it's important to consider the health benefits and risks before taking a supplement. Supplements that have a positive result generally become a regulated drug. As a result, they are better studied, dosage is better understood, and risks are clearly identified. For that reason, many healthcare providers prefer to use medications rather than over-the-counter supplements to help their patients achieve a health goal. Many bodybuilding supplements contain creatine, an amino acid that can build muscle but can also damage the kidneys.

They also often contain high levels of caffeine which can cause muscle breakdown, hyperactivity, and agitation. People often don't share the supplements they're taking with their healthcare provider which can delay care and resources. Vitamin supplements are products intended to add nutritional value to your diet. While they can help you meet certain vitamin needs, they don't provide all the benefits of eating food. For example, taking a vitamin pill does not provide calories so it will not be a source of energy.

Trying to live on supplements alone will cause starvation before it leads to health. People take supplements in the hope of maintaining or improving overall well-being, treating specific health conditions, or preventing illness or injury. Each supplement offers unique potential benefits. If you take dietary supplements as directed, follow all guidelines and consult with your doctor, the risks are low. Some side effects of dietary supplements include stomach upset, heartburn, gas, and bloating. There are some risks associated with supplements such as lack of regulation since the FDA does not approve most dietary supplements before they reach the market.

Simply put there are countless dietary supplements that can produce benefits for an equally countless number of physical and mental health problems. However concerns have been raised that isoflavones in soy supplements may contribute to increasing the risk of breast cancer. 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 risk-free. The good news is that large-scale studies have not shown an increased risk of breast cancer from eating whole soy foods such as tofu and edamame according to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. In addition the data showed that people who ate 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. Certain medications can interfere with the body's ability to digest absorb or use vitamins so people taking medications may need to resort to dietary supplements to benefit their health.

There is also a risk that taking vitamin supplements will cause an adverse drug interaction. Alcoholics benefit from B vitamins and vitamin C which leave their system due to the diuretic effect of alcohol. In conclusion it's important to consider both the potential benefits and risks when taking dietary supplements. If you take dietary supplements as directed follow all guidelines and consult with your doctor then the risks are low. However there is always a risk when vitamin supplements and prescription drugs are mixed resulting in an adverse drug interaction.

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