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  Category: Articles » Health & Fitness » Supplements » Article

Risks of Dietary Supplements

By Chris Chenoweth

A dietary supplement is a product that is intended to provide enhancement or improvement to your diet that contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs or other botanicals. It is taken orally as a pill, capsule, or liquid.

There are now thousands of dietary supplements on the market. Most contain vitamins and minerals that supplement the nutrients we can be missing from our regular diets. There are also products that do not contain vitamins or minerals, but other ingredients like botanicals, herbs, enzymes and amino acids.

Are they safe? Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not check the safety of the supplements before they are sold, no one really knows. You must use your own common sense and research a product as much as possible before trying it.

There are some supplements that can actually be dangerous or harmful to your health. Products that are labeled as natural can have pharmacological side effects that can cause harmful reactions in some people or interact dangerously with other medications.

If you are interested in trying a particular supplement, consult with your physician before purchasing it. You will need to provide your physician with a list of the ingredients contained in the supplement plus any other information you can gather together. You can go online to find all of the pertinent information.

You physician should also know about the supplement if you have any diseases or conditions that could cause some supplements to be potentially dangerous to you such as:

+Currently are or planning to be pregnant

+Suffer from a chronic disease or cancer

+Are currently taking prescription medications

+Under the age of 18

+Over the age of 65


Perhaps you want to lose weight and are considering an herbal dietary supplement that promises quick, easy weight loss. The temptation is strong to try out some of the many weight loss products that are available. However, none of these products perform as they promise and some, like ephedra, can have serious side effects.

Herbal diet aids can contain gingseng, bee pollen, kelp or other herbs that are supposed to be diet aids. In reality, they do nothing to promote weight loss and can be harmful if taken in large doses. The only safe and effective way to lose weight is with a healthy eating and exercise plan.


The healthiest way for your body to receive its needed vitamins and minerals is from food. If you are eating a healthy diet, you should not need to take vitamins. If you think you need to take vitamins, take a multivitamin that provides the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Some vitamins can cause harm if taken in excess amounts.

If you have food allergies or on a restrictive diet, discuss with your physician what vitamins or supplements you need to take. Calcium supplements are usually prescribed if a person has sensitivity to dairy products.

If your physician recommends that you start taking any vitamins or supplements, make sure you watch for symptoms that could indicate problems. Symptoms like nausea, headaches, rashes or dizziness can be a warning sign of a harmful reaction to the product. If you have food allergies, you should be particularly careful.

Dietary supplements should never be considered as a quick fix for bad nutrition and problems with weight issues. If the supplement makes any claims to cure a disease or condition, think carefully before you make any decision and find out as much information as you can. If you have concerns, always ask your physician.
About the Author
Chris Chenoweth is the author of the DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME, HEALTH & MONEY GUIDE, 500 pages of household tips, home remedies, diet and nutrition information, health issues and thousands of recipes! Learn how to burn fat with one of the most effective and healthy fat-burning systems available, the BURN THE FAT program.

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