Supplements are defined by Merriam Webster's Dictionary as something that makes an addition or completes. In the case of many popular dietary supplements they are an unregulated addition that may be dangerous. Sports drinks, weight loss, and energy increasing supplements containing herbal mixtures are not currently regulated by the federal government. Without regulation, the purity, quality, and clinical effects of these products are unknown.
Without regulation, the ingredients and effects of these dietary supplements can not be predicted. An example of the health risks associated with the use of a supplement is Ephedra. This dietary supplement was contained in many over the counter cold and weight loss agents and was identified as a possible contributing factor in over 50 deaths. Ephedra was banned by the FDA in 2003, after a series of high profile sports deaths.
Mixing supplements with alcohol or other medications further increases the risk of dangerous health reactions.
Check the Label
Dietary supplements come in many forms. These forms include pills, bars, drinks, and powders. Check the food label for any of the following supplement ingredients:
|Amino Acids||Anabolic Steroids|
|Echinacea||Ephedra (Ma huang)|
|Ginseng||Willow Bark, Aspirin|
If a product contains these ingredients choose another. It is very important to inform your health care provider of any supplements or over the counter agents you are taking.
The SHC recommends that you do not use dietary supplements without advice from a health care provider. For more information or to schedule a presentation or an individual appointment, contact: Timothy Keady, Associate Director at 475-6926 (V/TTY), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.