Dangers of Taking Supplements — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


Supplements are often marketed as a quick and easy way to improve your health, but they can be dangerous if not taken correctly. Taking too many supplements can lead to serious health problems, including organ damage, nutrient deficiencies, and even death. It is important to understand the potential risks associated with taking supplements and to be aware of the potential dangers. This article will provide an overview of the dangers of taking supplements and offer tips on how to safely use them.

Dangers of Taking Supplements: Eat This, Not That

Supplements are a popular way to get the vitamins and minerals you need, but they can also be dangerous if not taken correctly. Taking too much of a supplement can lead to serious health problems, including organ damage, heart problems, and even death. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when taking supplements.

Know Your Supplements

Before taking any supplement, it’s important to know what it is and what it does. Read the label carefully and make sure you understand the ingredients and how much of each you should take. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Check for Interactions

Certain supplements can interact with medications you’re taking, so it’s important to check for potential interactions. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any supplements you’re taking and make sure they won’t interact with any medications you’re taking.

Don’t Overdose

It’s easy to think that if a little is good, more must be better. But that’s not the case with supplements. Taking too much of a supplement can be dangerous, so make sure you’re following the directions on the label. Don’t take more than the recommended dose.

Be Wary of Unregulated Supplements

Some supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to be wary of these products. They may contain ingredients that are not listed on the label, or they may contain more or less of an ingredient than what’s listed. Stick to supplements that are regulated by the FDA to ensure you’re getting a safe product.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you’re considering taking a supplement, talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if a supplement is right for you and can help you find the right dosage. They can also help you identify any potential interactions with medications you’re taking.

Supplements can be a great way to get the vitamins and minerals you need, but it’s important to take them safely. Follow these tips to stay safe when taking supplements.

If you’re taking over-the-counter supplements, be careful—not all of them are safe, and certain dosages can be harmful to your health. “It’s recommended to always talk with your doctor before taking any sort of supplement,” explains internal medicine specialist Ronan Factora, MD. “Unregulated supplements can pose a serious risk if taken with other medicine, in excessive amounts or taken for an unconfirmed medical problem. Speaking with your doctor can help determine potential interactions. Often, asking the pharmacist about any specific concerns you have about a new supplement is worthwhile, too. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.” Here are five dangers linked to taking supplements, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

closeup woman taking high blood pressure medication

Certain supplements can interfere with prescription medications. “Garlic, ginger or ginkgo extracts could potentially interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding,” says Dr. Factora. “And St. John’s Wort is commonly taken for depression, but it can interact with other antidepressants being taken at the same time.”

drinking protein shake

Do you know what’s in that harmless-looking protein powder? Researchers at the Clean Label Project investigated 134 different types of protein powder and discovered many contained dangerous levels of toxins, heavy metals, and BPAs. “I don’t recommend using protein powders except in a few instances, and only with supervision,” says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

Colon Cleansers

“Colon cleanses and enemas are safe only when prescribed by a licensed physician before a colonoscopy or for treatment of constipation,” says David R. Heiman, MD. “They can come with their own set of side effects, including bloating, dehydration, and cramping, but these are temporary and last for just a day before a colonoscopy. Non-prescription colon cleanses may make big promises, but the truth is that they’re more likely to cause harm than good… Laxatives and enema solutions can lead to severe abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating. These can last hours or even days afterward.”


Over-the-counter energy supplements can contain dangerous levels of caffeine, doctors warn. “Small amounts of caffeine are not generally dangerous to most people,” says Anne-Michelle Ruha, MD, a medical toxicologist at Banner Health. “But large amounts can increase blood pressure and accelerate the heart rate. There are many situations in which these side effects can be hazardous.”

weight loss supplements

Weight loss supplements land thousands of people in the ER every year, and the FDA’s list of tainted weight loss supplements is extensive. “Patients quickly get into trouble when they take powerful prescription weight loss medication outside a doctor’s supervision, combine multiple weight loss supplements – particularly stimulants aimed to speed up metabolism – with illegal stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine,” says Michael Daignault, MD. “They present to the ER with an accelerated heart rate and elevated blood pressure, altered or agitated mental status, potential damage to liver or kidneys, and diarrhea or rectal bleeding.”


Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan