Are dietary supplements safe?
There is a huge range of products available and not all herbs and supplements are necessarily safe. If you are uncertain about the safety of a supplement or herb, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or dietician.
Remember to always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
If you are using dietary supplements, remember the following.
- Like conventional medicines, dietary supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and non-prescription medicines or other supplements you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may make other health conditions worse.
- The way dietary supplements are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of supplement that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
- Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary supplements are not known.