It's important to know which vitamins and supplements should not be taken together. Dietary supplements can interact with each other, as well as with over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Unlike drugs, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not authorized to review the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements before they are marketed. If used correctly, some supplements can improve your health, but others may be ineffective or even harmful.
A systematic review that analyzes the potential effects of nutritional supplements on cardiovascular health 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, with the exception of a low-salt diet. Other research involving self-reported dietary habits of a group of Americans linked daily doses of more than 1000 milligrams (mg) of calcium to an increased risk of death from cancer. The 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.
If you're managing an underlying health condition (especially if you're taking medication) or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to talk to your health care team before adding any new supplements to your regimen. Here are seven popular supplements that experts recommend taking 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. Vitamin D supplements are popular because it's difficult (if not impossible for some) to get enough from food.
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 exposure to the sun. Vitamin D supplements may benefit certain people, including those at risk of suffering from a deficiency, such as people with darker skin, who live with certain health conditions, and older adults. However, taking high doses isn't a good option as it can trigger greater calcium absorption and cause muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones. St.
John's Wort is a plant used as a 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. John's Wort is effective in treating mild depression. However, taking St. John's wort may reduce the effectiveness of other medications such as birth control pills, chemotherapy medications for HIV or AIDS, and medications to prevent organ rejection after a transplant.
Learn about potential drug interactions and ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of this supplement before taking it. Calcium is essential for a strong skeleton, but too much of this mineral can be harmful. With calcium supplements, hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease are risks, although research is mixed. The NIH recommends 1000 mg of calcium per day for women ages 19 to 50 and 1200 mg per day for women age 51 and older; for men ages 19 to 70 it's 1000 mg per day.
Taking more than 2,500 mg per day for adults ages 19 to 50 and more than 2,000 mg per day for people age 51 and older can cause problems.