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Dietary Supplements: Are They The Real Deal?

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24 Nov 2021

Nutritional supplements have been touted as health-promoting for decades. Although we can obtain all the vitamins and minerals we need from the food we consume, the supplement industry has boomed. People pop in multivitamin and probiotic tablets blindly assuming that it will guarantee them a healthy lifestyle. What they fail to understand is that some of the most popular and well-mouthed supplements can have unimaginable adverse effects.


Here is a list of 6 nutritional supplements that one must think twice before consuming.


Most popular among all the nutritional supplements, vitamin tablets are available in even the smallest drugstores and can be easily grabbed over the counter. While it may seem harmless to take these pills with an everyday diet, studies show that these pills have little benefit unless one has a severely low level of vitamins in the body. It has been suggested that vitamin C increases the risk of kidney stones. If taken for extended periods, vitamin B6 can severely damage the nerves, leading to the loss of control of one’s body. Uncalculated consumption of multivitamins has been shown to increase the risk of untimely death.



The benefits of calcium intake in osteoporosis prevention and treatment are well established. People do not realize, however, that calcium supplements can have side effects. Researchers have found that excessive calcium intake may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Consuming calcium supplements may increase the chances of experiencing constipation, severe diarrhea, and abdominal pain.



The reputation of fish oil has immensely grown along with the massive frame of studies linking a big range of fitness benefits, specifically reducing blood pressure, triglycerides, arthritis, and cholesterol with omega-3. But many nutritional complement fish oils don’t comprise the quantity of omega-3 promoted at the label and can have impurities in their products which may also inhibit the remaining omega-3 benefit. Risks associated with these supplements though few, but are significant. They can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and indigestion, and can also be hazardous to people with seafood allergies. Fish oil decreases blood clot formation, growing the threat of bleeding for the ones on Warfarin or low-dose aspirin. Studies suggest a link between omega-3 supplementation and prostate cancer.



The required amount of magnesium can be easily obtained by including nuts, seeds, whole grains, and milk in one’s everyday diet. Despite this fact, people tend to fall for magnesium tablets. Excess magnesium intake from whole foods might not be harmful to many adults but the same with supplements and medications cannot be confirmed. Unregulated intake of magnesium supplements may lead to nausea, diarrhea, and even abdominal cramping. It can cause kidney stones, urine retention, lethargy, and loss of CNS control.



Probiotics are the “good” type of bacteria known to keep the gut healthy. But just like other known supplements, they also have their downside. Probiotics might lead to an allergic reaction in some and lead to an upset stomach, gas, and bloating. They are known to compete with the existing gut microbiome and permanently take over it. People with a critical illness, those undergoing chemotherapy, and those who have recently had surgery must refrain from taking probiotics.



St. John’s Wort is a plant of the wild and is majorly used to cure mental health ailments clinically. It is often prescribed alongside standard antidepressants. But there are dangerous side effects of this medication. Use of wort alongside antidepressants may lead to a life-threatening increase in levels of serotonin causing agitation, fast heartbeat, rise in body temperature, and uneasiness. Studies have revealed that the wort worsens psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Intake of St. John’s Wort interferes with prescribed medications and may also lead to sexual dysfunction.


Now the question remains that whether one should consider taking dietary supplements or not. Well, there is no denying its benefits, but supplementation should be prescribed and taken cautiously.

Also, a bowl of spinach soup has healthier amounts of vitamins, iron, and calcium than the commodities that come in blister packaging. Just saying!

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Shreyoshi Das

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