If you’ve changed your supplement routine since the pandemic, you’re not alone. according to 2020 survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), more than 43 percent of dietary supplement users have changed things. Among those who updated their regimens, 91 percent reported increasing their intake of nutritional supplements, either by adding new supplements, taking the same supplements more regularly, or increasing their dose(s). General immune support and health and wellness benefits have been cited as the top reasons.
But while supplements are often seen as a way to ensure you meet your daily nutritional needs, they can create problems if you’re not careful. Like medications, supplements can affect the way the body works, which may cause adverse effects in some people, according to An article published in the May 2022 issue of American pharmacist.
So, how do you know you’re overdoing your supplement? Read on to find out.
What are the potential health benefits of supplementation?
“[In general]A supplement is something you don’t get enough of through food,” says Rohit Mogi, MD, CDCES, a pharmacist who works with Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic in Philadelphia, a member of American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM).
To fill these nutritional gaps, many people turn to gum, capsules, powders, tinctures, and even needle-delivered saline solutions (otherwise known as IV therapy).
In the Health and Education for Dietary Supplements Act of 1994Congress has defined nutritional supplements as products (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet, containing one or more nutritional components (including vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, or other substances) or their ingredients, taken Oral in the form of pills, capsules, tablets, or liquid, and it is prescribed as a food supplement.
While many people are able to meet their nutritional needs through their diet, others may benefit from supplementation. In particular those at greater risk of nutrient deficiencies, including those with higher requirements (such as children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women), those who struggle to absorb nutrients (such as the elderly, obese individuals, and people with medical conditions) chronic), and those who follow a restricted diet (such as vegetarians and vegans), according to Article published in January 2018 Article in Nutrients.
For example, a vitamin B12 supplement may be a good idea for older adults and people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy blood and nerve cells, and plays an important role in making DNA National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is found naturally in animal foods, which means that vegetarians and vegans may not get enough through diet alone. Older adults may also be deficient in vitamin B12, because many do not have enough hydrochloric acid in their stomachs to absorb it, according to the National Institutes of Health. Therefore, both groups may benefit from a vitamin B12 supplement.
What are the risks of supplementation?
A common concern about supplements is that the industry in general is not regulated. Unlike medications, supplements do not have to be approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold or marketed.
The new legislation, proposed by Senate Majority Webb Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and Senator Mike Brown, Republican of Indiana, aims to improve the safety of dietary supplements by requiring manufacturers to list their products with the Food and Drug Administration under the Food and Drug Act . The Dietary Supplements List Act of 2022 A bipartisan initiative. The new legislation, which refers to the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act of 1994, indicates that in 1994 there were about 4,000 dietary supplements marketed in the United States, but the industry has boomed and now 50,000 to 80,000 products are available.
In the meantime, consumers cannot be sure that the supplements they are taking are safe or effective.
Even if a supplement is generally considered safe, it may not be safe You are. “Most vitamins and minerals are at risk of being compromised by doses, and the risk depends on the individual nutrient and the patient,” he says Ravi Tripathi, MD, medical director of critical care services at Ross Heart Hospital at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. When it comes to supplements and risks, “there is no one size fits all,” he says.
For example, people with a genetic condition called hemochromatosis should be careful with iron supplements, because hemochromatosis causes toxic levels of iron to build up in their bodies. National Institutes of Health. And although most people don’t get enough potassium even when combining diet and supplements, according to National Institutes of HealthPeople with chronic kidney disease can develop abnormally high levels of potassium in their blood. This condition, known as hyperkalemia, can cause serious heart problems if left untreated, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Supplements can pose risks even in healthy people. according to National Institutes of HealthYou are more likely to have side effects from supplements if you take them in high doses or use many different supplements.
Symptoms from taking more of the supplement your body needs vary depending on the nutrients and the amount ingested, and may only show up in blood tests. However, there are some physical signs to watch for. According to May 2022 American pharmacist article, general symptoms to look for may include:
- severe weakness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Inability to exercise or perform routine tasks
5 Popular Supplements People Tend to Overdo
1. Vitamin D
Why this is useful to you: Vitamin D (also known as the “sunshine vitamin”) helps your body absorb calcium, making it a key nutrient for bone health. Your body also needs vitamin D to transmit messages between your mind and body and to fight bacteria and viruses, according to National Institutes of Health.
Why you might overdo it: On the other hand, 40 percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency in blood tests (when serum levels are less than 50 nmol/L), according to the Results published in June 2018 in treat us. the reason? The National Institutes of Health notes that most of us don’t get enough sunlight. Taking a vitamin D supplement may help — and the CRN survey shows this supplement is becoming more popular — but it’s important to monitor your dose to make sure you don’t get more than 100 micrograms (mcg) a day. According to the National Institutes of Health, overdoses are often caused by taking supplements, rather than exposure to sunlight or eating foods rich in vitamin D.
Risks: Very high levels of vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, and kidney stones, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Why this is useful to you: Iron is a mineral your body needs to make hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body, according to National Institutes of Health. It also helps your body produce hormones.
Why you might overdo it: Iron supplements are often recommended for younger women to help compensate for iron loss during menstruation. but according to Cleveland ClinicMany women continue to take iron supplements after menopause, when menstruation stops and iron decreases.
Risks: Taking too much iron can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, according to the National Institutes of Health. Iron overdoses can also lead to inflammation of the stomach lining and ulcers. Although rare, extremely high doses of iron (in the hundreds or thousands of milligrams) can cause organ failure, coma, convulsions, and death, according to the National Institutes of Health.
3. Vitamin A
Why this is useful to you: according to National Institutes of HealthVitamin A is important for eyesight, immune health, reproduction, growth and development.
Why you might overdo it: It is very easy for most people to get too much vitamin A. If you eat breakfast cereal and carrots or sweet potatoes at lunch, and then take an eye health supplement, you likely exceeded the recommended amount, says the Cleveland Clinic. .
Risks: High levels of vitamin A can cause severe headaches, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches, and problems with coordination, according to the National Institutes of Health.
4. Vitamin C
Why this is useful to you: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect your body from free radical damage. according to National Institutes of HealthYour body also needs vitamin C to produce collagen, which is an important protein for wound healing.
Why you might overdo it: The CRN survey found that vitamin C supplementation has seen a significant boost since the pandemic. However, most people can get enough vitamin C through food. In fact, one cup of chopped strawberries, red peppers, or broccoli will provide the required daily amount, Mayo Clinic.
Risks: Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps, according to the Mayo Clinic. Vitamin C supplements may also interact with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, according to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, a Previous study It was found that men who took vitamin C supplements were more likely to develop kidney stones.
Why this is useful to you: Calcium is a mineral that builds and maintains strong bones. It also plays a role in nerve function, blood circulation, and hormone secretion, according to National Institutes of Health.
Why you might overdo it: You may be tempted to take a lot of calcium supplements to protect your bones, but according to Cleveland ClinicIt’s very easy to overdo it. Especially if you already get calcium from your food.
Risks: Excess calcium has been linked to constipation, kidney stones, kidney failure, heart problems and cognitive problems, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
How do you talk to your doctor about nutritional supplements?
Experts often recommend speaking with your doctor before trying supplements. Unfortunately, many doctors and nurse practitioners are not familiar with this field. “I find a lot [healthcare professionals] Completely unprepared to answer their patients’ questions, they end up telling them that supplementation is a waste of money, when there may be a product that may actually work for its intended use,” says Dr. Moggi.
If you are interested in adding a supplement to your diet, Moghe suggests speaking with a trained physician integrative medicine or nutritional medicine, pharmacist, naturopath, or registered dietitian. You can check the guides National Council of Dietitians for Physicians and the American Board of Physician Specialties To find a healthcare professional who works to meet your needs.
Simple blood tests can reveal if you’re deficient in certain nutrients, but your annual routine blood work usually doesn’t include these tests, although some nutritional deficiencies can cause changes in these labs, according to the Rush University. You will have to order these blood tests when you visit your doctor. A physician trained in integrative medicine and/or nutritional medicine, a pharmacist, a naturopath, or a registered dietitian may be able to offer suggestions and a customized approach to getting the right levels of nutrients for you, and explore whether it makes sense to have a specific test. Vitamin deficiencies due to your unique lifestyle, diet and health.