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These Trendy Supplements can send you to the ER

It’s important to get your daily required nutrients. That’s what supplements are for.  Unfortunately, some supplements may have harmful effects that could send you to the ER if you’re not careful. In one 10-year study, researchers looked at surveillance data from 63 hospital emergency departments to estimate the annual number of ER visits associated with adverse effects from dietary supplements. The study defined 'dietary supplements' as herbal or complementary products, and vitamin or amino acid micronutrients. Below we’ll provide insight into the four supplement categories that can provide more harm than good.

Quick Weight Loss

According to the study, patients visiting the ER for symptoms related to supplement use were on average, 32 years old, and women made up 50% of all visits. Just over 10% of these visits resulted in admission to the hospital, especially among adults older than 65. Weight-loss products accounted for 25% of all single-product ER visits affecting mostly women.

Supplements for ED

Men were more likely to experience adverse effects from products advertised for sexual enhancement. Just last year, the FDA had to issue a warning about these supplements, “Men, beware! Products falsely marketed as “dietary supplements” or “foods” that promise to enhance your sexual performance or increase sexual stimulation might contain hidden drug ingredients or other undisclosed ingredients — and can endanger your health”. The FDA purchased these products on Amazon and eBay and agency testing found that the products contain active pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on their labels, including some with ingredients found in prescription drugs.

The FDA's tainted products database can help consumers identify nearly 1,000 of these potentially dangerous products.

Sports Nutrition

Sports Nutrition, more importantly, body-building supplements sent people to the emergency department. Warns the FDA: In a published article from the FDA, CDR Mark S. Miller, Pharm. D., a regulatory review officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), bodybuilding products that contain steroids or steroid-like substances are associated with potentially serious health risks, including liver injury. Some were life-threatening.

Energy Supplements

More concerning news was reported about certain energy-boosting products. Energy enhancing supplements made up another 10% of ER visits. The FDA: "The FDA recommends that you consult with a health care professional before using any dietary supplement. Many supplements contain ingredients that have strong biological effects, and such products may not be safe in all people.

Safely Choosing Supplements

It’s important to recognize hype over evidence-based claims when it comes to supplements and what they can do for you. Do the claims for the product seem exaggerated or unrealistic? The internet can be a valuable source of accurate, reliable information. Unfortunately, it also contains a lot of misinformation that can deceive.  The deception is not always obvious. Learn to distinguish hype from evidence-based science. Also, be skeptical about anecdotal information from unreliable sources. Nutritional supplement can support your health in many ways and science supports this. However, it’s always best to verify when something seems too good to be true.

Navigating through life is hard, vitamins should be easy.  To cut through all the noise and figure out what supplements are right for you, just take our quick 30-second survey and get your list of personalized vitamin and nutrient recommendations.  Click Here