The supplement craze is in full effect.
Whether youâ€™re going to a store or buying them online, 75 percent of Americans are taking something.
â€œI see people all of the time in the emergency department that admit theyâ€™re on supplements — the problem is they rarely ever know exactly what theyâ€™re on or whatâ€™s in them,â€� said Dr. Frank McGeorge.
Even supplements that claim to be â€œall-naturalâ€� are to be eyed with caution.
â€œThere are many things found in nature that are not good for you, so â€˜all-naturalâ€™ does not mean all-safe,â€� McGeorge said.
The problem lies in the Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s way of regulating dietary supplements, Hank Winchester found. Because supplements are treated more like food by the FDA, they are not subjected to the same safety standards or rigorous testing that drugs are.
â€œThe standard that supplement manufacturers are held is very, very low,â€� McGeorge said. â€œThis is not a medication in the way that you might buy something from an actual pharmacy behind the counter. The point being, this is a buyer beware situation. If you buy supplements, if you take them, you are taking the risk.â€�
Studies find many products contain unapproved and unregulated ingredients, especially in those sold online. Researchers from the California Department of Public Health found that from 2007 to 2016, 776 products marketed as diet supplements contained hidden active ingredients that were either unstudied or unsafe.
â€œUnregulated supplements are a huge problem, because they may contain ingredients that are not on the labeling or they may contain slightly different ingredients,â€� McGeorge said.
Talk to your pharmacist, doctor
Consumers should speak to their pharmacists or doctors before taking a supplement to make sure they wonâ€™t interact with any other medication theyâ€™re taking.
â€œSupplements, if they interact with any of the medication that youâ€™re on, or if you take them in excess, can cause harmful, dangerous and even life-threatening reactions,â€� McGeorge said.
To reduce the risk of taking supplements, buy from reputable sources and avoid taking supplements that promise a certain health outcome or make other claims.
The FDA is trying to be more aggressive about getting harmful supplements off the market. Consumers are encouraged to report any serious reactions through the FDA website.
Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.