Beware of Taking too Many Health Supplements

I had a patient once; she was in her mid-twenties, health-conscious, and very intelligent regarding her health. But she couldn’t figure out why she was sick all the time.

In her consultation, she began telling me about all the health supplements she was taking. Some of them were recommended by her doctor, and she was taking the rest of her own free will. I have never known anyone to take this many supplements before.

I had her stop taking all supplements and started her on detox treatments that same day. After a couple of weeks of being off the supplements and doing my detox treatments, her health improved, and she began to feel normal again.

She didn’t know the dangers that some supplements have in them. While I’m not opposed to supplements, we do need to know some of the dangers of supplements.

For many people, a healthy lifestyle means more than eating a good diet and getting enough exercise. The plan also includes vitamins, supplements, and complementary nutritional products. But though there is more publicity about their potential benefits, there is less awareness of their possible harmful side effects.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that adverse effects of supplements were responsible for an average of 23,000 emergency visits per year. That’s a lot for something that is supposed to be good for you.

In this 10-year study, researchers looked at surveillance data from 63 hospital emergency departments to estimate the annual number of emergency room visits associated with adverse effects from dietary supplements.

The authors define “dietary supplements” as herbal or complementary products and vitamin or amino acid micronutrients.

Patients visiting the emergency room for symptoms related to supplement use are, on average, 32 years old, and women make up more than half of all visits. Just over 10% of these visits resulted in admissions to the hospital.

Weight-loss products accounted for one-quarter of all single-product emergency room visits and disproportionately affected women. At the same time, men were more likely to experience adverse effects from products advertised for sexual enhancement and bodybuilding.

Energy-boosting products made up another 10% of these visits.

Although the study’s findings are annual estimates based on emergency room visits to a relatively small number of hospitals, they reflect the growing use of dietary supplements and micronutrients.

These products are widely available without prescription and are advertised as alternatives to, or complements to, therapeutically prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.

As a result, dietary or herbal supplements are widely perceived to be natural and safe. The most recent figures indicate that there are more than 55,000 such products available in the United States.

While I was doing my research for this article, I read something shocking, disturbing, and misleading about the set guidelines by the FDA, published by The Cleveland Clinic.

I felt like the FDA was protecting the manufacturers more than the consumers. This is what I read, “The Food and Drug Administration has guidelines that require manufacturers to disclose side effects of prescription medicine. This is meant to inform the prescribing physicians and the patients taking the medicine about the risks and benefits of these substances. Drug advertisements even require that manufacturer disclosed side effects of the medicine, along with the benefits that clinical trials have demonstrated. But, these disclosure requirements are not the same for vitamins and supplements. For this, the FDA requires that they are generally safe and that the labels are not “misleading.” But, proof of benefits and disclosure of risk is not required from the manufacturer.”

Dietary supplements can enhance health when taken appropriately. But, regarding some nutrients, you can get too much of a good thing. According to researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the most common nutrients that can cause problems at high doses include biotin, copper, iron, niacin, vitamins A, D, and E, and zinc.

In one study review conducted at the Mayo Clinic, people with extremely high blood concentrations of vitamin D ranging between 150 and 1220 ng/mL experience symptoms of toxicity such as dehydration, loss of appetite, pain, and vomiting.

Supplementing with individual amino acids, a practice popular with athletes and bodybuilders, can also result in side effects. It can cause an imbalance in the body’s amino acid concentrations and trigger dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, liver issues, muscle cramps, and water retention.

For an appointment with Dr. Irving in Puerto Vallarta or at FEDA Nutricion and Fitness, Calle Jacarandas 86, in Bucerias, or if you are interested in purchasing Dr. Irving’s CBD oil (5000mg or 10,000mg) without THC, please contact Loren Hayes on WhatsApp at 322-167-7570.


  • Dr. Irving Ramírez

    Dr. Irving Ramirez-Alvia, Naturopath, was born in Tepic, Nayarit, in 1992. After obtaining a degree in health and nutrition, Dr. Irving finished medical school and moved to Vallarta. His newly-opened office is at Lord Twigg’s Hotel and Boutique, Francisco Villa #424, Colonia Lazaro Cardenas; his online store features all-natural, homeopathic products and remedies. For an appointment with Dr. Irving in Puerto Vallarta or at FEDA Nutricion and Fitness, Calle Jacarandas 86, in Bucerias, or if you are interested in purchasing Dr. Irving’s CBD oil (5000mg or 10,000mg) without THC, please contact Loren Hayes on WhatsApp at 322-167-7570.

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