The hype about dietary supplements comes and goes in the news cycle. One report states we need to increase our intake of a vitamin or mineral but another report states we could be harming ourselves by doing so. Manufacturers of dietary supplements spend millions of dollars each year promoting the health benefits of their products. The problem with some of these claims is that they are potentially false or misleading. Another problem with dietary supplements is the potential for an overdose of certain nutrients.
Because they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you must be very cautious when choosing dietary supplements.
Can Dietary Supplements Be Harmful?
Consuming too much of a particular nutrient can cause you to become ill or develop serious medical conditions. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides Dietary Guidelines that include the recommended daily dose of nutrients. Dietary supplements can help ensure that you receive the daily recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals; however, you must consider your diet when determining whether you need a dietary supplement.
Dietary supplements may have side effects and dangerous interactions with medications you may be taking and some supplements can affect some surgical procedures before, after, and during surgery. Dietary supplements are not intended to cure disease and the evidence that some dietary supplements can prevent disease may be flawed. According to Dr. JoAnn Manson, some of the enthusiasm for vitamins and nutrients is not yet supported by evidence.
What Should You Do Before Taking a Dietary Supplement?
Because dietary supplements can hurt your health and because dietary supplements are not tested by the government prior to being released, you should take steps to protect yourself before adding a dietary supplement to your health regime.
- Consult with your physician. Before adding a dietary supplement, consult with your physician. You may not need the dietary supplement or it may cause potential harm or side effects when combined with certain medications. If your doctor prescribes any medication, inform him or her of any dietary supplements you are taking.
- Conduct research about vitamins and minerals. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has several fact sheets regarding dietary supplements and nutrients. You can also find information about dietary supplements through the FDA’s website.
- Search for drug recalls. The FDA does not approve dietary supplements; however, it does include recall notices by manufacturers on its website. Check the drug recall list before taking any dietary supplement. The FDA also has a list of tainted products that are marketed as dietary supplements you should check. You can also request more information from the drug manufacturer about the drug and about whether the drug was tested on humans before it was placed on the market.
- Beware of potentially false claims. If a dietary supplement claims to be “totally safe” or has “no side effects,” be cautious. You should never assume that a drug supplement would not harm you because it says “all natural.” This does not mean the dietary supplement is safe. You can get more information about Health Fraud Scams from the FDA.
Have You Been Injured By a Drug Side Effects or Defective Medical Product?
You expect that a drug or medical device is safe to use if it is on the market; however, this is not always the case. Some drugs have dangerous side effects and some medical devices cause more harm to the patient and defective products can cause permanent injury or death. If you or a loved one has been injured by a medication or medical device, the defective product attorneys of the Olinde Firm want to help you. Contact our office for a free case evaluation.