The Dangers of Taking Deadly Health Supplements

Aristolochic acid (Aristolochia, motherwort, snake root, scabies root, sangrel, serpentine, wild ginger) is known to cause documented human cancers and is related to kidney failure. On the one hand, dietary supplements can sometimes interact with each other, as well as with over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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. If 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 thing happened with dietary changes, except for a low-salt diet.

Other research on dietary habits reported by a group of Americans linked daily doses of more than 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium to a higher risk of death from cancer (although other studies suggest otherwise). In addition, the data showed that people who took 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 from supplements. Confused? Fact sheets from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 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 you're pregnant or breastfeeding, play it safe and talk to your health care team before adding any new supplements to your regimen. While supplement trends come and go, here are seven supplements that have historically been popular, and in all cases, experts recommend taking them with care, if at all. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in the body, and having enough is essential for health and well-being, as it promises to protect bones and prevent 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, as pointed out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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 sunscreens have minimized the amount of vitamin D that many of us get from sun exposure. But vitamin D supplements are a complicated topic. Sometimes it may seem that guidelines and research contradict each other. The truth is that enthusiasm for vitamin D supplements is outpacing the evidence.

And taking high doses is not a good option. In healthy people, blood levels of vitamin D greater than 100 nanograms per milliliter can cause additional calcium absorption and cause muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones, notes the Cleveland Clinic. It can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. That said, vitamin D supplements may benefit certain people, including those at risk of deficiency such as people who have darker skin, live 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 by supplementing 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. Medications that don't combine well with vitamin D include the weight-loss drug orlistat (Xenical, Alli), 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 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 according to 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 3 800 patients and suggested that the herbal remedy worked as well as certain antidepressants in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate depression. However says Dr Denise Millstine internist in the integrative medicine department at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix Arizona “the biggest problem with St John's Wort is its interactions with medications” Taking St John's Wort according to the NIH may also reduce the effectiveness of other medications such as birth control pills chemotherapy drugs for HIV or AIDS medications to prevent organ rejection after a transplant. St John's Wort learn about possible drug interactions and ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of this supplement as well as how it compares to your other options. Calcium is essential for a strong skeleton but as with all nutrients too much of this mineral can be harmful As the NIH points out 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 With calcium supplements hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease are risks although research is conflicting according to the Cleveland Clinic The NIH recommends 1000 mg of calcium a day for women ages 19 to 50 and 1200 mg a day for women age 51 and older The recommendation for men ages 19 to 70...

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