How Safe Are Vitamin Supplements?

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Vitamin Supplements
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Are you taking any vitamin supplements? Did you know they have side effects?

We all need vitamins every day. Vitamins are the substances which your body needs to grow and remain healthy. You need Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K. Each of these vitamins has a specific function, but your daily diet is the best way to get them.

Use supplements wisely

No doubt, vitamin supplements can improve the quality of your life and can prevent certain diseases too. However, they do carry side effects/ unwanted effects. Use them only to fill the gap between what you eat and what your body needs.

Dosage of supplements is crucial

It varies according to your age, gender, and different life cycles. Research says few of the vitamin supplements can also increase the risk of cancer!

Side effects of supplements

All types of supplements whether prescription or over the counter can cause side effects. They can also cause interactions with other medicines that you are taking. Even herbal supplements can have deleterious side effects.

Side effects can vary from as minor as a headache to as major as life-threatening allergic reactions. Most common side effects are drowsiness, dry mouth, and upset stomach. Severe side effects can be permanent damage that leads to disability, hospitalization, and death.

If you are taking treatment for cancer, supplements can cause reactions as well as reduce the efficacy of cancer treatment.

Few doctors say supplements can aggravate certain autoimmune diseases.

*Autoimmune disease is a disease wherein your body acts against self. It identifies your own cells as foreign and attacks them.

Dietary supplements are not approved by FDA/ Food and Drug Administration

FDA approves a drug only when the benefits and effectiveness are higher compared to the side effects. For all other medicines, sellers should do the research and prove that medicines are safe. But for dietary supplements, there is no such need, thus, they come into the market without sufficient research.

Now FDA is reporting the adverse effects of supplements. Anywhere if any adverse effect related to the supplements is noticed, it needs it to be reported. Every year, such reports are increasing in number.

4 Tips to make the best out of supplements

  1. Always talk to your doctor before you want to start any supplements.
  2. Inform your doctor about any allergies that you have.
  3. Talk about the medicines that you are already taking. Supplements can interfere with your treatment by reducing the effectiveness of treatment. They can also cause allergic reactions by reacting with the medicines.
  4. Choose a well-reputed brand because if you take supplements from other brands, they may not have the quantity of each ingredient mentioned on the label, they may not have the active ingredient altogether and, they may be carrying toxic substances.

What should you do when you experience a side effect?

Report to FDA and talk to your doctor. He/ she might suggest you an alternative medicine which has no side effects. Lifestyle and dietary changes also help to reduce the side effect. Sometimes a combination of supplements helps to cut down the side effects.

Use vitamin supplements rightly to make the best out of them.

Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20620752

https://www.drugs.com/mtm/multivitamins.html

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/vitamin-chart.html

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/medicines-and-side-effects

https://www.hss.edu/conditions_nutrition-supplements-reduce-medication-side-effects-myositis.asp

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/complementary-and-alternative-medicine/dietary-supplements/risks-and-side-effects.html

https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm196029.htm

https://medlineplus.gov/vitamins.html