7 Popular Supplements With Potential Hidden Risks

7 Popular Supplements With Potential Hidden Risks

When it comes to supplements, there’s so much hype about their potential benefits that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. While it’s true that vitamins and minerals are essential to health, it’s not true that taking them in pill, capsule, or powder form — especially in megadoses — is necessary or without risks.

For one thing, dietary supplements can sometimes interact with each other, as well as with over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication. In addition, unlike drugs, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is not authorized to review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. It’s up to manufacturers to ensure that their products do not contain contaminants or impurities, are properly labeled, and contain what they claim. In other words, the regulation of dietary supplements is much less strict than it is for prescription or OTC drugs.

Yet, according to the FDA, more than half of Americans take herbal or dietary supplements daily, with a report by Grandview Research noting the dietary supplements market was valued at $151.9 billion worldwide in 2021.

Used properly, some supplements may improve your health, but others can be ineffective or even harmful. For example, a systematic review analyzing the potential effects of nutritional supplements on cardiovascular health, mainly heart attack and stroke, suggests that few supplements help prevent heart disease — only omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid were effective. The same went for dietary changes, except for a low-salt diet.

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