From pills to energy drinks… today’s dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals, botanicals, amino acids, enzymes and much more. Many of these supplements contain active ingredients that can have strong, negative – even deadly – effects in the body.
“When they went to the cath lab their heart muscles were actually completely clean, it’s just that the supplement was so strong, they had a heart attack purely due to vasospasm,” says Lee Memorial Health System toxicologist, Dr. Timothy Dougherty.
Twenty-three-thousand Americans went to the emergency room last year as a result of taking dietary supplements. Unlike prescription and over-the-counter drugs, which must be approved by the FDA before they can be marketed, dietary supplements do not require review or approval by the FDA before they can be sold.
“When a new supplement comes out that’s a miracle supplement for certain things we will see a rise in potential side effects,” says Dr. Dougherty.
Without any regulation you can’t be sure what you’re taking, from ultra-high doses of caffeine to mega-stimulants even undisclosed, illegal substances have been reported in supplements.
“I think it’s important for people to be aware of that simple fact. And then they can decide what they want to go and do from there,” says Dr. Dougherty.
Always let your health care providers know which dietary supplements you’re taking so that you can discuss what’s best for your overall health.
View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/
Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.