Almost half of all Americans take some sort of dietary or herbal supplements each day. There are some supplements that can improve your health, but there are others that are ineffective or could even hurt you. The following are seven supplements that you need to take with caution.
1. Vitamin D: It Can Harm Your Kidneys if You Take Too Much
Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium, and it’s important for your health to get enough. This is a popular supplement when it comes to bone protection and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis. But there’s a good chance that healthy post-menopausal women that consume a low-dose vitamin D, which is no more than 400 IU, may not need to take them.
Healthy women that take vitamin D should know it doesn’t help prevent broken bones. This is different for the women that are over 65 and have a vitamin D deficiency, or have osteoporosis or are prone to falls. Vitamin D is beneficial for them.
A risk of healthy people taking vitamin D is it can trigger extra calcium absorption, which can cause kidney stones.
2. St. John’s Wort: Drug Interactions
This is a common plant used in capsules or teas to help with sleep disorders, depression, and anxiety. A study done in 2011 to see how it helped mild depression found that it was no better than a placebo. That doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful though. The problem with St. John’s Wort is that it comes with a lot of medication interactions.
A 2014 study found that 28% of people prescribed St. John’s Wort between ’93 and ’10 were given it along with a dangerous combination of antianxiety and antidepressant medications, oral contraceptives, or statins.
Make sure you read through the list of medicines that St. John’s Wort can make less effective before taking it.
3. Calcium: Excess Will Settle in Arteries
Calcium is great for a healthy heart and strong bones, but too much can hurt you. Research has found the calcium works best when it is absorbed through food. Doctors will typically notice a calcium deficiency in blood tests, and they will prescribe you a supplement if you need it.
However, too much, over 2500 mg for adults 19 to 50, can cause problems. The extra calcium will end of settling in the arteries and not in the bones.
4. Multivitamins: They Aren’t a Substitute for a Healthy Diet
People assume they aren’t getting the minerals and vitamins they need from their diet. That’s why they turn to multivitamins. In one study that looked at almost 40,000 women that were over the age of 19, they found, on average, those who took a multivitamin were at an increased risk of dying when compared to those who didn’t.
But, a study in 2015 looked at 8000 women and men over 40, and the women who took a multivitamin for at least three years lowered their risk of heart disease. Doctors will also prescribe multivitamins for certain conditions, or for women of childbearing age. The important thing to remember is that they should not be used a substitute for consuming a healthy diet.
5. Fish Oil Supplements: Flaxseed or Fish Are Better
While Omega-3s are great for heart health, supplements may not help as much as getting it from food sources. Doctors recommend that you consume two servings of fish each week. For people who have heart disease, it is recommended that you take a gram of omega-3s a day. People with high triglycerides should take two to four grams.
6. Kava-Kava: Can Harm the Liver
This comes from the root of the Piper Methysticum. In concentrated forms, this can help to treat insomnia and anxiety. However, it could also cause serious side effects. Products that have kava in them are linked to acute liver injury, which can end up being fatal. It has also been linked to abnormal muscle spasms and can interact with a lot of different drugs, which include antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, and Parkinson’s disease drugs.
7. Soy Isolate: Be Careful with Estrogen
Soy milk, tofu, and tempeh are great sources of fiber, minerals, and protein. There are some women who will turn to soy supplements for help with menopause symptoms. However, people have raised concerned about these supplements because of an increase in breast cancer because of the estrogen in them. If breast cancer runs in your family, it’s best to stay away from these supplements. Get your soy intake from foods. They aren’t linked to any problems.