“Natural” Doesn’t Mean Good For You –Potential Risks of “Dietary Supplements”

dietary supplements and vegetables

The wife of a California Congressman died last year after ingesting White Mulberry – a plant that is used as an herbal remedy for a variety of conditions including diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol according to Kaiser Health News (https://khn.org/news/article/tom-lori-mcclintock-death-herbal-remedy-diabetes-weight-loss-white-mulberry/

How can something “natural” and available over-the-counter be harmful?

Because they’re not regulated by the FDA as medicine – they are regulated as “food”.  The FDA does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.  Further, the FDA can’t even inspect a company’s manufacturing process unless it has reasonable evidence that its products are harming people.

People often equate natural with safe because it came from the earth, “but so does cocaine and heroin” points out Dr. Fatigma Stanford, MD from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Recommendations can be found everywhere, and its hard to know which can benefit your health and which may be harmful.  The scientific evidence isn’t always clear.  And the products you buy in stores or online may be different than those used in studies.

In this article from Penn Medicine, they discuss what many supplements do and some common risks.  https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/february/the-truth-about-supplements. And my favorite part of the article is the final point – ‘That nothing beats the nutrient power of a healthy diet”!

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