Some Michiganders have turned to dietary supplements this cold and flu season to bolster their body’s defenses.
While vitamins can help boost the immune system, too much of a good thing can possess negative impacts, explained Sarah Hutchinson, a registered dietitian at Henry Ford Health.
“Supplement toxicity is where you get too much of the vitamin or mineral, usually from health supplements or artificial sources, ” she said. “It’s becoming more of a problem with more readily available products. ”
It’s very uncommon for individuals to intake a toxic amount of a given vitamin or mineral from food sources alone. But the addition of one or more supplements can lead to an consumption of hundreds or thousands of percentage points beyond what’s recommended daily.
As an example, Hutchinson described a situation where the patient may be taking a daily multivitamin, plus a daily dose of a vitamin C supplement like Emergen-C, a zinc supplement, and an elderberry supplement that also includes zinc plus vitamin Chemical.
“They’re taking one product on top of another when they probably only need that will multivitamin every day or even every other day, ” she stated. “I heard a good metaphor recently: If you put more gas in a car, it’s not going to go faster. The same way along with vitamins and minerals, just because we have got more, it doesn’t mean your body will work better. ”
Symptoms of getting an excessive amount of a vitamin or nutrient can be general or nonspecific, like headache, stomachache, or heart flutter. More serious reactions can include blood clots and stroke-like symptoms, especially in individuals with liver or even kidney problems.
Too a lot of one nutrient can also look such as a deficiency of an additional, making it difficult to self-diagnose the issue. A blood test can help assess unhealthy levels; so may better evaluating food labels when determining what supplements to take.
The required nutrients listed on the typical nutrition facts label underwent a change in recent years to reflect nutrients many Americans do not sufficiently ingest. Labels still need to include calcium and iron, but Instead of requiring vitamins A and D, they now require supplement D plus potassium.
When possible, dietitians suggest forgoing the dietary supplements in favor of the nutrient-rich diet; citrus fruits and broccoli, for instance, are good sources of vitamin C. Supplements should only be used for deficiencies, like if you’re struggling to get enough of a given nutrient naturally.
Hutchinson also recommends avoiding supplements that far surpass daily recommendations. A good route is to discuss nutrient options with a primary care physician to better determine the right ones to take, and if a supplement could negatively interact with another medication.
For example, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration alerts drugs with regard to HIV/AIDS, heart disease, depression, treatments for organ transplants, plus birth control pills are less effective when combined with an herbal supplement known as St. John’s wort. Additionally , combining multiple blood thinners, including the vitamin E supplement, might increase risk of internal bleeding or stroke.
Given the average American diet “has room regarding improvement, ” Hutchinson mentioned there’s generally nothing wrong with getting a multivitamin. But some are much better than others.
“The best rule of thumb is in order to make sure not to get more than 100% of the particular (recommended every day allowance), ” she said. “It’s more helpful to get smaller doses instead of getting 100% at once. ”
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