Can natural supplements hurt you?

It is a common belief that natural is safer or better than artificial or refined substances. This is not only not always true, but some natural products can be harmful even if used as instructed.

Can natural supplements hurt you?

It is a common belief that natural is safer or better than artificial or refined substances. This is not only not always true, but some natural products can be harmful even if used as instructed. For example, comfrey and kava can damage the liver. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the body, and getting enough is critical to health and well-being, offering the promise of protecting bones and preventing bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Supplemental vitamin D is popular because it is difficult (if not impossible) to get enough from food. In addition, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our bodies produce vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to sunlight, but increased time spent indoors and widespread use of sunscreen have minimized the amount of vitamin D that many of us get from sun exposure. Calcium is essential for strong bones and a healthy heart, but too much is not good. In fact, excess calcium, which the NIH describes as 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.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “researchers believe that without adequate vitamin D to help absorb it, extra calcium is deposited in the arteries rather than in the bones. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 1,000 mg of calcium daily for women ages 19 to 50 and 1,200 mg daily for women age 51 and older. The recommendation for men aged 19 to 70 years is 1000 mg per day and 1200 mg daily for men age 71 and older. UU.

(USDA), 6 ounces of low-fat plain yogurt contains about 311 mg of calcium, a little less than a third of the daily recommendations. Other good sources of calcium include tofu, skim milk, cheese, fortified cereals, and juices. A surprising study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, which examined data from nearly 40,000 women over 19 years, found that, on average, women who took supplements had a higher risk of dying compared to women who did not take supplements. Multivitamins also did little or nothing to protect against common cancers, cardiovascular disease, or death.

Use the information on the labels of supplements and foods you regularly eat, add your total daily exposure to everything, and then refer to the related table to see if you're overdoing it. If your doctor says you need more than one specific nutrient than you can get from food (or sun exposure, in the case of vitamin D), a single-ingredient pill may be enough. They have an absolute deficiency of vitamin A. The form of retinol, which comes from animal sources such as eggs, liver, and whole milk, is more easily absorbed than beta-carotene, but even strict vegetarians can meet their needs by eating five servings a day of products, including dark green leafy vegetables and orange and yellow fruit.

Too much retinol can cause birth defects and liver abnormalities, and can damage bones. Today, everything from bottled water to orange juice seems to have high levels of vitamins and minerals. That may sound like a way to help cover your nutritional bases, especially if your diet is less than stellar. But getting an overload of vitamins and minerals routinely can hurt you.

Even though they are natural, some herbal supplements can be dangerous. Because observational studies may not fully control dietary factors, exercise habits, and other variables, they cannot demonstrate whether treatment is responsible for health benefits. People who take supplements tend to be more health conscious, exercise more, eat healthier diets and have a host of lifestyle factors that can be difficult to fully control in statistical models, Dr. However, the source of these nutrients is important.

It's usually best to try to get these vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food rather than supplements, Dr. The Dietary Supplement Label Database, a project of the National Institutes of Health, has all the information found on the labels of many dietary supplement brands marketed in the United States. Dangerous ingredients are known to appear in dietary supplements marketed for weight loss, bodybuilding and sexual enhancement. If you get a little sun exposure during the warmer months and regularly eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, eggs, and fortified dairy products, you probably don't need to take a supplement.

Most drug companies and herbal supplement producers do not investigate possible drug interactions, so the risks of taking supplements with other drugs are largely unknown. The researchers warned that the implications of their findings were worrying, given that more than half of people aged 60 and older take supplements containing vitamin E. Your doctor or pharmacist can prevent you from these problems only if they know what supplements you are taking or plan to take. The FDA does not require supplements to be rigorously tested for safety and efficacy in the same way that drugs are tested.

Of the more than 54,000 dietary supplement products in the Comprehensive Natural Drug Database, only about one-third have some level of safety and efficacy that is supported by scientific evidence, according to an expert review by the NMCD. Over the past decade, FDA's regulatory partner, the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the advertising of dietary supplements, has filed more than 100 legal challenges to claims about supplement effectiveness. In some cases, when herbal supplements have been tried, they have been found to contain very little or no of the listed ingredients. But unlike medicines, most people choose which dietary supplements to take without their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist knowing them.

And keep in mind that supplement manufacturers and sellers have a financial interest in promoting their products. But dietary supplements aren't completely safe, and taking them can have risks, especially for people who are being treated for cancer. In the meantime, here are the steps you can take to ensure that the supplements you use are safe and beneficial. Usually adding a little extra vitamin D during the gloomy winter months or supplementing it with a protein shake when you're on the go won't do you any harm.

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Sylvia Sako
Sylvia Sako

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