Nutritional supplements can be bought over-the-counter–which means you do not need to get a prescription to avail of them. They are generally perceived as safe by the general public, even though most of them are not acknowledged and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration Board. How much do we really know about the nutritional supplements we take? Are there any nutritional supplements side effects? Here are some things to think about:
1. Dosage and topical application
Anything taken in excess is not good for health. The same is true with nutritional supplements. A study made by the Frederick W. Fraunfelder, M.D., researcher and ophthalmology professor in OHSU listed dry eyes, temporary visual loss, and retinal hemorrhages as some of the ocular nutritional supplements side effects of some nutritional and herbal supplements. Most nutritional supplements side effects were associated with topical application and high dosages. While there were no reported cases of permanent damage, there is still a possibility for it, should the patient continue the use of the product.
Of more than 300 reported cases, his study reported 8 variables associated with ocular side effects: Echinacea purpurea, ginkgo biloba, chamomile, canthaxanthine, licorice, Datura, vitamin A, and niacin. Some of these products, particularly gingko biloba, show nutritional supplements side effects when taken with other medicines such as aspirin and Ibuprofen.
Multivitamins should be taken in moderation– overdose of vitamins that are not excreted by the body can pose major problems. For example, high doses of iron and vitamin D can result to kidney damage; too much vitamin A can cause headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and possible damage to the bones and liver.
2. Medical history
Some nutritional supplements side effects are triggered by your pre-existing health conditions, medical history, or treatment. For example, some people with asthma may be allergic to a higher dosage of Vitamin C. Family history should also be considered; those with a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure/hypertension, kidney stones, and reflux nephropathy are at risk of nutritional supplements side effects such as kidney failure when taking supplements like creatine.
TIP: It is still best to consult a physician regarding the intake of nutritional supplements; this is especially important for patients undergoing any type of medication or recuperation, or for those in special circumstances, such as pregnant women.
It is also helpful to read medical guides, brochures, and consumer reports to gather information on certain nutritional supplements, whether they have any side effects. You can also look into the Food and Drug Association Board World Health Organization database for any banned or discouraged nutritional supplements. Remember that some supplements contain additives that can harm you. Make sure that the manufacturer of your supplement is pharmaceutical GMP compliant – this will guarantee that their product is devoid of damaging fillers.