Can supplements be harmful?

   Supplements may be helpful to some people--yet more studies need to be conducted, to be sure. However, do not take mega doses. Megadoses of vitamins (and other supplements), in particular Vitamin A (which is stored in the body) can be very harmful, so be careful. There are even studies that show that beta carotene supplementation is questionable and can even be harmful, particularly in excess. Moderation is a good idea. Used incorrectly, many of these substances can be harmful. Did you know:
  • megadoses of vitamin A can cause bone pain, birth defects in babies, hypertension?

  • long-term excess vitamin E can cause low sperm count, degeneration of testicles, sterility?

  • Megadoses of vitamin C can cause gout, kidney stones, and can interfere with white blood cells' ability to kill bacteria, making infections worse rather than clearing them up?
  • Nearly everyone takes vitamins, minerals, supplements or medicinal herbs. If you are thinking of taking supplements, it pays to be cautious. Here are a few tips for you before you decide to purchase them.

  • Before taking a supplement, find out what evidence supports its advertised benefits-and dangers. It is a good idea to glean information from a variety of sources, not just one book or magazine article.

  • Do Not Overdo It: Learn what scientists know about safe dosages and do not exceed them. In particular, do not use a large variety of herbs on a regular basis. There are no data on the safety of any botanical when combined with another herb or drug.

  • Do Not Trust the Label: It can make any number of claims that are not backed by good science or, in some cases, any science at all. Do pay attention to the print that reads: "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration."

  • Discuss Supplement Use With a Doctor: Inform a doctor about supplement use, including vitamins. Pregnant women and people with genetic defects that impair their ability to metabolize a nutrient should not use any supplements without approval or recommendation from their physicians.

  • Consider Food: When possible, it is generally better to get nutrients from food than from supplements. Consumers should learn what foods supply those they need most and include them in their diet.

  • Report Adverse Reactions to FDA: Anyone who believes he or she has symptoms related to dietary supplement use should call 1-800-332-1088 or 1-800-332-4010.
  • The information on these pages were derived from medical, nutritional and media publications. It is not intended for medical or nutritional claims, but for informational and educational purposes. Please consult your doctor before consideration of the use of supplementation. These supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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