August 26, 2021

Multivitamins and other tablets placed on a surface with a piece of parsley on top

Do you often take vitamins and other supplements as part of your health and fitness regime? The use of supplements is not uncommon. More often than not, people rely on these supplements to gain those extra nutrients that may be missing from their diet.

However, research shows that the consumption of these supplements is not without risk. While some of these supplements can prove beneficial for your health, you must also be aware of the dangers they pose to make an informed decision.

Multivitamins and other tablets placed on a surface with a piece of parsley on top

In this article, we will review the benefits and risks of supplements and answer the question, “why is the consumption of dietary supplements considered risky?”

The Benefits of Taking Supplements  

Nutritional supplements have their benefits, but they are not for everyone. Here are some of the reasons why you may consider taking supplements.

They Help People With a Restricted Diet

People with restricted diets, such as vegans or vegetarians, could benefit from a nutritional supplement such as a multivitamin.

Ensuring you are consuming a sufficient amount of nutrients can be difficult for such people. They can consume greens such as kale and spinach that are rich in iron, but some nutrients that are usually found in animal sources may be missing from their diet. These include vitamin B-12.  

Taking a daily multivitamin is also helpful if you forget to eat regularly or eat the same types of foods frequently. Bear in mind, though; poor nutrition can still have detrimental effects on your health. If you experience any headaches or nausea because of a restricted diet, we suggest speaking to a dietician.

They Are Good For Bone Health

As per Jacob Gold, MD at UCLA Health, a vitamin D supplement can be good for bone health. The risks associated with this particular supplement are also usually low. Some of the biggest benefits of including vitamin D in your diet include:  

  • Helps regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood to maintain healthy bones.
  • May reduce the risk of flu.
  • Can reduce the risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women and support a healthy pregnancy.

They Help Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Nutritional supplements can also prove beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Doctors recommend that these women take prenatal supplements or folic acid. Folic acid is particularly important for normal fetal and infant development.

Low levels of folic can cause a number of tubal birth defects. These include cleft palate, spina bifida, anencephaly, etc. The CDC recommends pregnant women take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day.

You can also consider maintaining a folate-rich diet. It should include foods like asparagus, beans, broccoli, lentils, peas, and dark leafy green vegetables.

The Risks of Taking Supplements

Numerous blue and white capsules against a white background

While nutritional supplements have their benefits, there are also certain supplement types that can pose a risk to your health. These primarily include diet pills and weight-loss supplements.

Keep reading as we move to answer your main question – “why is the consumption of dietary supplements considered risky?”:

They Come With Health and Safety Concerns

Dietary supplements can have side effects if you take a high dose. Health experts say that certain supplements tend to increase the risk of bleeding. There is also a chance that the supplements will interact with other medications to cause health problems.

For example, if you are taking a supplement with vitamin K, then it can reduce the action of the blood thinner, warfarin, and prevent blood from clotting. Besides this, antioxidant supplements that carry vitamin E and vitamin C may compromise the effectiveness of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

 You May Taking Too Many Supplements

If you already have a healthy diet, there’s a good chance that you may be taking an unhealthy number of supplements. Some cereal and beverage manufacturers also add vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to their products. This can greatly increase your intake, and it may not be a good thing.

Too much iron in your diet can lead to nausea and vomiting. Similarly, taking an excessive amount of vitamin A can lead to headaches, reduce bone strength, and create birth defects. It can also cause liver damage.

They May Contain Harmful Ingredients

Over-the-counter supplements do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, they may make a variety of health claims and contain harmful active ingredients.

As per the FDA, manufacturers of dietary supplements must assume the responsibility of ensuring their products are safe before they are released into the market. Moreover, if a dietary supplement carries a new ingredient, then manufacturers need to inform the FDA about it before they market the product.

However, it is important to understand that the FDA only reviews such notifications to ensure the ingredient’s safety. They do not require approval, nor does the FDA test the ingredient for its effectiveness.

The FDA has also identified an ongoing trend in over-the-counter products sold as dietary supplements. These products usually make weight-loss claims, but many of these products contain varying quantities of ingredients found in prescription drugs.

Besides this, they may contain controlled substances and untested pharmaceutically active ingredients. It’s important that you only use dietary supplements manufactured by reliable pharmaceutical companies and those recommended by a general physician or dietician.

In a Nutshell: Why is the Consumption of Dietary Supplements Considered Risky?

White round tablets falling outside of a bottle onto a yellow surface

As far as the question of “why is the consumption of dietary supplements considered risky” is concerned, these supplements have their benefits and risks alike.

Nutritional supplements can prove useful for bone health and help people with a restricted diet. They are also important for pregnant and breastfeeding women who need to take a certain amount of folic acid every day.

However, taking too many supplements can be harmful to your health. The FDA does not regulate these products, and you may end up taking supplements with harmful active ingredients. This particularly holds true for diet pills or weight loss pills.

You always speak to a physician or dietician before you consider including nutritional or dietary supplements in your diet.

Did you find this article useful? Follow Life Boss for more interesting articles on supplements, fitness, healthy eating, and more.

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