Supplements Send 23,000 People To The Hospital Every Year

It is a big business, there is no doubt about it. The dietary supplement industry is a $32-billion-a-year industry, and believe it or not, it isn't regulated by the federal government the way other medications are. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have joined together to conduct a study to develop stats concerning injuries and hospitalizations that occur every year from supplements, including herbal pills, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. The study, published in The New England Journal Of Medicine, looked at data from 63 emergency departments in the United States, spanning a 10 year period. They found 23,000 visits a year are caused by adverse effects of dietary supplements. These effects include heart problems, allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting. On average, 2,154 of these visits were serious enough to require hospitalization. The authors of the study know that 23,000 is a small number when compared to the ER visits prompted by prescription drugs, less than 5 percent to be exact. But the problem with supplements lies in the fact that people are unaware that they can cause such dangerous side effects. According to the federal Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, supplements are considered safe until proven otherwise. Manufacturers are not required to list side effects and are asked to report problems with their products on a voluntary basis. What's worse, because many people don't consider supplements to be 'medicine,' they don't tell their doctors they are taking them, setting up a dangerous potential for drug interactions! supplements1 A handful of the 23,000 ER visits were choking and swallowing issues in older adults while more than a quarter of the visits (28 percent) were young people between the ages of 20-34. Weight loss and energy supplements accounted for more than half of the visits among this age group with patients experiencing cardiovascular problems such as chest pain, heart palpitations, and irregular heart rhythms. David Heber, M.D., Ph.D., the founding director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition believes that most of the visits were 'minor reactions' to caffeine and caffeine containing supplements like guarana in people who rarely drink coffee. He suggests young adults should read the labels and make sure that the caffeine intake doesn't exceed the FDA's 400mg per day limit. "What is needed here is not more regulation, but effective education of doctors and the public," he says. Other experts disagree. "This is a really big issue and this industry definitely needs regulation," says Jeanmarie Perrone, M.D., professor of Emergency Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  "We have had many cases through my years as a medical toxicologist consulting through the Philadelphia Poison Center of patients with significant adverse events from supplements including contaminated substances, drug interactions, and significant cardiac effects in the case of ephedrine, which was a weight loss/energy supplement taken off the market because of associated cardiovascular and stroke events in the 1990s. We have long proposed that this industry needs oversight." The Council for Responsible Nutrition, which is a trade group for the supplement industry, has reported that some manufacturers are already address some of the concerns raised in the study, particularly the choking concern, and are offering their products in liquids, gummies, melts and powders. Although this is scary news, you can do yourself a favour by always telling your doctor what you are taking. Always. What do you think? Are supplements safe or is this concern more than justified? Source: Shape  Do you follow us on Instagram? [caption id="attachment_114150" align="alignnone" width="100"]snapchat code @BodyRockTV[/caption]

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