Don’t Make These Mistakes When Talking to Your Doctor about Vitamins and Supplements
Americans spend over $23 billion a year on these products. We often find the “natural” labeling reassuring. Many people swear that these products work wonders.
BY: Jo Ann LeQuang
The vitamin and supplement industry is big business. Over the course of a lifetime, most of us will take many of these products to enhance our health, improve our well-being, or manage certain symptoms with a “natural” remedy. In fact, Americans spend over $23 billion a year on these products. We often find the “natural” labeling reassuring. Many people swear that these products work wonders.
And since vitamins and supplements are not regulated the same way drugs are regulated in this country and because anybody can purchase them from stores and online sources, it is easy to think that these are harmless products.
That’s not actually the case. So while it may be a good idea for you to take these drugs, you should tell your doctor (and pharmacist) what you are taking. Here are four reasons to tell your doctor or nurse about the supplements you take.
1. Even something as seemingly benign as a vitamin pill can have a toxic effect on the body when excessive amounts are taken. In fact, some vitamins in megadoses can cause serious side effects and even be lethal. Read labels and literature carefully. If you are taking vitamins, tell your doctor not just the kind, but also the dose.
2. Some commonly available supplements have definite side effects that consumers may not be aware of. For instance, colloidal silver (which is readily available) can cause the skin to turn blue—and it’s a permanent change that can only be fixed with expensive laser treatments. Why don’t more people know about this “blue skin” risk with colloidal silver, which is sold for immune support? The FDA issued a warning back in 2009, but how many of us are regular readers of the FDA website?