Are your supplements a health benefit or health risk?


By pH health care professionals

If you’re interested in vitamins and supplements, by now, you’ve probably seen the shocking headlines that thousands of people end up in emergency rooms each year due to dietary supplements. Many news media organizations seized this study as a reason to declare that supplements were dangerous.

A closer look at the study shows it’s not time to give up your multivitamin. Consider:

  • 35 percent of the supplements were herbals or other weight loss or energy products. Sometimes, these products are marketed by personal trainers or other non-medical personnel, and can be laced with dangerous contaminants.
  • Weight-loss supplements caused over 70 percent of the heart-related symptoms, like chest pain and palpitations. Appetite suppressors often contain high amounts of caffeine (it’s cheaper to drink coffee -- in your kitchen, anyway!).
  • Almost 40 percent of supplement problems in the elderly were due to choking on presumably large pills, not the contents of the pill itself.
  • Body building and sexual enhancement products caused many of the problems.

A lot of the ER visits, then, happened with supplements that were less likely to be doctor-recommended. There are good and bad supplements. Here are some ways you can be proactive and choose wisely:

  • Ask your doctor for recommendations on specific supplements and brands.
  • Get tested for nutritional deficiencies, so you can eliminate supplements you don’t need. If you love oysters, maybe you don’t actually need a zinc pill.
  • Read labels. “Proprietary blends” mean you don’t know exactly what is in the product.
  • Drugstores aren’t always reliable. A recent crackdown on a popular chain’s supplements is evidence of this.

Proactive Health Labs ruled out many potential supplement companies before offering medical-grade supplements from companies like Metagenics and Designs For Health, which use the purest ingredients possible and test all their pills on real people. With a good company, you generally won’t have to worry about contamination or dangerous side effects.  Finally, if you are unsure whether a supplement is safe, bring it to a knowledgeable doctor who can give you an educated second opinion.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

 The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.