Are Supplements Dangerous?

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B sup...

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B supplement show above, are typically sold in pill form. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a person who gravitates to “alternatives” over conventional forms of medicine when it comes to keeping myself healthy, I found myself drawn to an article in the AARP Bulletin entitled, “When Supplements become Dangerous.”  The further I read, the more  apparent it became that the supplements themselves were not necessarily dangerous. What was potentially dangerous was their interactions with pharmaceuticals.

We are a country that relies on pharmaceuticals to a large extent for all sorts of symptoms.  It is inherent in our health care system.  A person goes in to see the doctor complaining of insomnia.  Typically, the doctor, instead of suggesting something nice and healthy like deep breathing  exercises, writes a prescription for a sleeping pill.

So it may not be so surprising that the AARP article was written from the perspective that it is the way supplements interact with the pharmaceuticals that might cause problems, rather than the other way around.

One myth that continues to dominate and was reflected in this same article is that mega amounts of vitamin C can interfere with chemo regimens.  Hm.  I have been told too many stories by individuals I know who knew individuals who successfully overcame their cancer with mega amounts of Vitamin C.  My husband, in his fight with pancreatic cancer, took mega amounts of vitamin C.  Not only did it not interfere with the chemo he was also taking, it boosted his immune system, something the chemo was destroying along with the cancer cells.  Although not scientifically proving this, I believe the Vitamin C did serve to enhance and extend my husband’s life.

Obviously, we all know that too much of anything can potentially be dangerous. The crucial words in that statement are “too much”

So bottom line, if you are taking pharmaceuticals and you are taking supplements, it would be wise to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see how they may interact.  But this need really only exists if you are on pharmaceuticals.

© Yvonne Behrens  2012

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