If you are like many health conscious Americans, you may have started taking popular supplements to enhance your diet, however, if not taken as directed these supplements can have side effects. Supplements are vitamins, minerals, plant matter, or amino acids that people take in powder, liquid, or pill form to add value to their normal diets. You can find these supplements online, in health food stores, or even in drug stores or regular grocery stores. Usually, people take supplements because they are hoping for a specific benefit. For example, people will take vitamin C tablets in the hopes of boosting their immune systems and avoiding colds. Supplements are not prescribed by doctors, though, and they aren't regulated as medicines by the Food and Drug Administration. While many supplements are harmless and some may actually be good for you, there are other supplements that could have dangerous side effects that you aren't aware of. Furthermore, you could suffer from side effects if you aren't taking the supplements in the proper manner. Fortunately, the majority of the most popular supplements in the United States are relatively harmless.
Fish oil is currently the most popular supplement in the U.S., recommended in low doses for people who have heart disease. People without heart disease should avoid fish oil, however, because it may cause bleeding and prevent blood clotting. It can also cause gas, heartburn, digestive problems, and rash. Fish oil may reduce your immune system's activity and raise your bad cholesterol.
Young athletes use creatine to increase muscle mass and improve exercise performance. Though mostly safe, creatine may cause muscle cramping, nausea, digestive problems, and stomach pain. If you take too much, you may cause damage to your kidney, liver, or heart. Creatine causes your muscles to draw water, so you need to make sure that you stay hydrated when you take it.
Body builders supplement with protein, usually in the form of whey protein, to build muscle mass more rapidly. Protein supplements are safe for almost everyone except for pregnant or breast-feeding mothers or lactose intolerant people. If you take too much, though, you could suffer from increased bowel movements, fatigue, headache, bloating, thirst, and cramps. If you take protein supplements and don't work out, you'll get fat.
All sorts of people take multivitamins to supplement their diets. These multivitamins are usually safe for everyone, unless you take more than the recommended dose. If you are eating those gummy multivitamins like candy, you risk a host of side effects including hair loss, vision loss, nausea, digestive problems, heart palpitations, and even nerve damage.
Coenzyme Q10, known as CoQ10 on supermarket shelves, is becoming increasingly popular in the United States for athletes and people who have heart problems. CoQ10 is being marketed as a defense against heart failure, cancer, periodontal disease, and muscular dystrophy. Athletes take CoQ10 supplements to help boost energy levels and speed their recovery time after workouts. Studies show that this supplement may cause mild insomnia, elevated liver enzymes, and increased blood clotting. Healthy patients report nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light, fatigue, rashes, stomach pain, irritability, heartburn, and headaches.
Lots of Americans, especially women, take calcium supplements to strengthen their bones and maintain healthy cardiovascular function. Calcium may cause gas in healthy patients. If you take more than the recommended dosage, however, you may suffer from more serious side effects including heart problems or thyroid problems.
Vitamin D supplements are becoming more and more popular for people who are concerned about weak bones, low phosphate, skin problems, rickets, and even depression. Healthy people usually don't have any problems with vitamin D supplements, unless they take too much. Too much vitamin D can result in lethargy, weakness, fatigue, digestive problems, and dry mouth. If you take way too much vitamin D, you could cause problems with your thyroid gland, lymph nodes, or kidneys.
B complex vitamins usually include a combination of B vitamins such as B12, B6, folic acid, B3, riboflavin, and thiamine. These supplements are currently being touted as stress relievers, mood enhancers, and aids against memory loss. While there is some indication that increased levels of B vitamins can benefit patients, especially pregnant women, it is also possible to overdose on B vitamins. Taking too much of most B vitamins could result in irritability, digestive problems, blood clotting, headache, fatigue, skin problems, or confusion. Taking too much B6 over a long period of time can be dangerous, though, and may result in brain or nerve damage.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are supplements taken to aid in joint health in older individuals. There are a number of types of glucosamine, and most supplements have glucosamine sulfate. Glucosamine sulfate is mostly safe, but could cause drowsiness, digestive problems, and skin reactions. Patients who are pregnant or breast-feeding, asthmatic, or diabetic should not take glucosamine supplements.