Everyone is talking about dietary supplements to get flawless skin and hair, a perfect body, optimal health, and longevity. However, there are numerous misconceptions about these supplements and their usage. Many people know the positive effects of vitamins on our health, but not many are aware of the consequences of dietary supplement overdose.
In a study conducted in 2009 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), it was reported that an astounding 56% of American consumers took regular dietary supplements. According to the 2012 Annual Report of the National Poison Data System (NPDS), a shocking 60,000 cases of vitamin poisoning are reported to America’s poison control units every year. These statistics not only show the number of people who think dietary supplements are essential for great health, but it also shows the alarming rate of those who were victims of supplement overdose.
Can Everyone Take Supplements?
Those who are healthy with a balanced diet and active lifestyle do not require supplements, but there are some people who are prescribed supplements for a specific period of time. For example, people who are anemic are advised to take iron supplements until their hemoglobin levels are up, and those who suffer from calcium deficiency are given calcium tablets typically for a few months.
Supplements can certainly correct a health condition by providing additional support to our body’s systems. However, with regular consumption they can cause an imbalance in the body resulting in dangerous health outcomes. In this article, we have compiled a list of seven reasons that explain why regular intake of supplements is harmful.
1. “Less is More”
Heath conscious individuals know that vitamins are a good thing. Unfortunately, some of them think that the more vitamins they consume, the more benefits they get. But this logic works exactly opposite:
- Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K are accumulated in our body.
- When these vitamins are consumed regularly in high quantities, their level can raise in our bodies, resulting in a number of health problems.
- High levels of vitamin A contribute to birth deformities.
- Vitamin E, when taken regularly in large quantities, can result in hemorrhages.
- A similar level of Vitamin K interacts with blood thinners and can cause blood to stop clotting.
- Water soluble vitamins such as vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also dangerous in high doses.
- Excess vitamin B6 leads to nerve damage while vitamin C in large quantities over a period of time can result in kidney stones.
Robert Anding, MS, of the American Dietician Association argues that vitamins, when consumed regularly in high doses, can act like drugs. They can obstruct the functioning of kidneys by causing constipation and kidney stones.
Anding also states that supplement overdose reduces the body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins like iron or zinc.
2. The Immune System and Its Functioning
A strong immune system is very vital for robust health. Those with weak or compromised immune systems face serious health conditions wherein the viruses or bacteria attack the body and make it susceptible to multiple diseases.
It is natural for people to think about enhancing their immunity with vitamins. However, studies have found that our immune system is at its best when we follow a naturally well-balanced diet and active lifestyle, and when we develop a stress-free mind.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that are readily absorbed by the body.
- Some sun and exercise are not only capable of lifting the mood, but they also help us to absorb vitamin D in its most effective and natural form and they can also provide enough energy to our muscles to keep them healthy.
- Sleep is an integral part of a healthy body. There are many repair functions that our bodies undergo while sleeping. Getting enough rest and peaceful sleep can do wonders for the body’s immunity.
3. Unnecessary Expenses
Do you think that you can save a lot of money on health care by consuming supplements regularly? Unfortunately, there is no logic behind such thought. Studies show that the majority of people spend not less than $100 on supplements every month. Many of these buyers often believe in the fairy-tale promises made by supplement producers to improve health.
- Vitamin D is hailed as one of the most beneficial health enhancers. However, the most natural form of vitamin D is absorbed by our bodies from the sun. There is no need to take supplements when you can get some sun light.
- Forbes research has stated that the claims of vitamin D improving bone density are actually untrue.
- Most of the vitamins we need are absorbed by our bodies from the food that we consume. In general, people are tricked into thinking that our bodies are starved from vitamins, when in actuality they are not.
4. “Multivitamins” Spell Trouble
Not many people are aware of the fact that vitamin E in high doses can increase the risk of prostate cancer in men. It can also pose a potential threat to heart health by making diabetic patients and those with vascular diseases susceptible to cardiac failure. Multivitamins offer a blanket solution that keeps the consumer from tracking how much of each individual vitamin they are ingesting.
5. Vitamin Poisoning
Some supplements like iron pills can lead to death in some cases. Iron poisoning is reported in many people who consume iron in high doses. The symptoms can start from chronic fatigue and end in fatal shocks. Some studies suggest that a single dose of iron beyond safe limits can kill a person in two days. Long term usage will cause various symptoms like headaches, nausea, and more.
6. Approved Or Not Approved?
In general, the FDA reviews any addition in the composition of dietary supplements. Unlike other medications that take eight to twelve years of approval time, supplements are permitted to be sold fairly easily. They are withdrawn when there is enough proof that they are harmful. Makers are not required to present any clinical research about their products.
In such instances, it is too risky to pop a supplement every day based on the flimsy promises made by manufacturers who do not hold enough accountability.
7. Nature Vs. Supplements
Supplements are marketed intelligently to convince people that there is an easy way to achieve good health. In reality, good health is hampered by unnecessary supplementation. People should not give into the fancy portrayal of vitamins and mysterious herbs to promote health. Instead, people should focus on their diet, nutrition, lifestyle and healthy habits.
Natural enhancement of health is a safer option than unknown supplements and their ill-effects on our body.
Regular intake of supplements is good for a specific period of time to support recovery or promote health. However, regular intake of supplements for an extended period of time can only lead to dangerous health issues. Moreover, our body can greatly benefit from a good diet, active lifestyle and natural health-promoting practices such as exercise, sufficient sleep, meditation, etc. Most of us do not need supplements to enhance our well-being.