There’s no shortage of supplements on the shelves promising miracle cures and instant weight loss, but not all of them work. In fact, some are not as safe as you think and can actually cause harmful side effects and hidden health hazards. Eat this, not that! Health spoke with experts who explain what to know before taking supplements and which to avoid. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.
Reda Elmardiregistered dietitian, certified nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach and owner of thegymgoat.com explains:Supplements are not regulated by the FDA. This means that they are not tested for safety before being sold to consumers. If something goes wrong, there is no way to know if it was caused by the supplement or the manufacturer. Additionally, many manufacturers do not disclose exactly what their products contain. Many supplements contain ingredients that have been shown to cause harm. Some examples include caffeine, ephedra, and other stimulants. Others may contain harmful amounts of iron, zinc, magnesium, or vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12. Supplements can interact with medications. This is especially true for those who use prescription drugs. Taking certain supplements along with your medications could cause serious side effects. Supplements can interfere with your body’s natural processes. When taken without medical supervision, supplements can cause adverse reactions in the body. They can affect how your body metabolizes food, hormones, and even drugs.”
Elmardi explains, “Glucosamine sulfate is a natural product derived from shellfish. It is often included in dietary supplements marketed to help people with joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. But glucosamine isn’t helpful for everyone; research suggests it could even cause problems like stomach ulcers and kidney stones.”
Dr Seema Bonneythe founder and medical director of Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia says: “Vitamin A high intakes of some forms of vitamin A can be harmful. Taking more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day long term increases the risk of osteoporosis. Getting too much preformed vitamin A (usually from supplements or certain medications) can cause dizziness, nausea, headache, coma, and even death.High intake of preformed vitamin A in pregnant women can also cause birth defects in their babies.
Elmardi adds, “Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for vision, reproduction, bone formation, immune function, and skin health. However, too much can lead to toxicity, especially in children. In fact, 1/3 of the world’s population has some degree of vitamin A deficiency.”
“Creatine is a natural substance found in meat and fish,” Elmardi shares. “It has been used by athletes for years due to its ability to increase muscle mass. However, creatine can be dangerous if taken in high doses. This supplement is not regulated by the FDA and contains ingredients that have not been proven safe. Some of them include L-carnitine, beta-alanine and taurine. These substances can cause serious health problems.”
Vitamin B6 is important for brain development and maintaining a healthy immune system, but Dr. Booney says, “Excessive amounts of vitamin B6 can produce peripheral neuropathy.”
Vitamin E is important to help maintain good vision and the health of your blood and skin, but according to Dr. Bonney, “Vitamin E in doses greater than 400 units per day has been associated with a higher risk of all causes of death.
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Garlic and ginger can have anti-inflammatory effects, but Dr. Booney says, “Garlic, ginger or ginkgo extracts can potentially interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding.
According to Dr. Booney, “St. John’s wort is often taken for depression, but it may interact with other antidepressants taken at the same time.”