When Do Supplements Go From Healthy to Hazards

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on January 26, 2017 · 0 comments

With a limited budget, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) only spot tests about 1% of the 65,000 dietary supplements on the market. Dietary supplement makers aren’t required to prove their supplements have any effect on health. And, only ingredients developed after 1994 must be tested for safety before they hit the shelves. If a supplement does result in “adverse events,” the FDA can pull it from the marketplace.

What this means to you is that you need to be cautious about the supplements you take and carefully consider why you have decided to use the supplement. Though supplements are used by a large percentage of Americans, there is little information available about their adverse effects on health.

A study funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, examined the reasons for emergency department visits between 2004 and 2013. They found that over 3,600 cases were due to adverse effects of dietary supplements.

66% of these emergency department visits involved the use of herbal or complimentary nutrition products

32% involved the use of vitamins and minerals

26% involved the use of herbal or complementary nutrition products for weight loss or increased energy causing palpitations, chest pain and tachycardia (heart rate of over 100 beats per minute)

Over 2,100 of these visits resulted in hospitalization.

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