Vitamins and Supplements: What You Need to Know Before Taking Them

    If you were to open your medicine cabinet right now, there’s a good chance you’d find at least a bottle of vitamins, as well as painkillers, band-aids, and cough syrup.
        After all, people have a responsibility to buy vitamins: the global market for complementary and alternative medicine, including multivitamin supplements, was valued at $82.27 billion in 2020. The use of natural health products such as minerals and amino acids has increased and continues to grow, in part due to consumer purchasing habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
       Vitamins C and D and zinc supplements are being considered as potential preventive measures against the virus, although the evidence for their effectiveness is inconclusive, now or in the future.

fruit and vitamin
        Multivitamin and mineral supplements are readily available to consumers. They are often promoted for their health claims and benefits, sometimes unsubstantiated. But its potential side effects are not always listed on the packaging.
        Vitamins and minerals are collectively called micronutrients. These are the basic elements our body needs to function properly. Our bodies produce only small amounts of micronutrients or none at all. We get most of these nutrients from our diet.
       People often buy micronutrients to prevent disease or as dietary “insurance” in case they don’t get enough of them in their diet.
        These additives are generally considered harmless. But if taken in the wrong dosage, they can be dangerous. They can provide a false sense of hope, pose a risk of drug interactions, and delay more effective treatment.
        Vitamins are beneficial if taken for the right reasons and as prescribed by your doctor. For example, taking folic acid in pregnant women has been shown to prevent neural tube defects. People who reduce their consumption of red meat without increasing their intake of legumes need to take a vitamin B6 supplement.
        But a troubling trend is growing among consumers: intravenous vitamin treatments often promoted by celebrities and social media marketing. Intravenous vitamins, nutrients, and fluids can be given at pharmacies and beauty spas, and more recently, as IVs. Users trust these products to relieve colds, slow down aging, brighten skin, relieve hangovers, or simply make them feel better.
       Intravenous vitamin therapy was previously used only in medical settings to help patients who are unable to swallow, need fluid replacement, or have electrolyte imbalances.
        However, evidence supporting the additional benefits of intravenous vitamin therapy is limited. No matter how you choose to get extra vitamins, there are risks.
        Most consumers use multivitamins. But others take large doses of individual nutrients, especially vitamin C, iron and calcium.
       As pharmacy educators, we feel it is important to highlight the potential side effects of commonly used vitamins and minerals:
        Vitamin A/Retinol is beneficial for maintaining good eye health. But if you ingest more than 300,000 IU (units), it may cause toxicity. Chronic toxicity (hypervitaminosis) is associated with daily doses exceeding 10,000 IU. Symptoms include liver damage, vision loss, and intracranial hypertension. It can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
        Vitamin B3 is beneficial for the health of the nervous and digestive systems. In moderate to high doses, it can cause peripheral vasodilation (dilation or widening of blood vessels in the extremities such as the legs and arms), resulting in skin flushing, burning, pruritus (itchy skin), and hypotension (low blood pressure). . pressure).
        Vitamin B6 is essential for brain development and a healthy immune system. However, doses higher than 200 mg per day may cause damage to peripheral nerves, such as those in the arms and legs (resulting in numbness, often called a tingling sensation).
        Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps repair body tissue. High doses can cause kidney stones and interactions with cancer drugs such as doxorubicin, methotrexate, cisplatin and vincristine.
        Vitamin D is essential for the development of bones and teeth. In high doses, it can cause hypercalcemia (higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood), leading to thirst, excessive urination, seizures, coma, and death.
        Calcium is essential for bone health, but can cause constipation and gastric reflux. High doses may cause hypercalciuria (increased levels of calcium in the urine), kidney stones, and secondary hypoparathyroidism (low parathyroidism). This may cause drug interactions with zinc, magnesium, and iron.
        Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve function. In high doses, it can cause diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps and may interact with tetracyclines (antibiotics).
       Zinc can impair taste and smell, and consuming more than 80 milligrams of zinc per day has adverse effects on the prostate.
       High doses of selenium can cause hair and nails to fall out or become brittle, damage to the skin and nervous system, rashes, fatigue and emotional irritability.
       Consuming 100 to 200 milligrams of iron per day can cause constipation, dark stools, discolored teeth, and abdominal pain.
       Regular exercise and a balanced diet are likely to benefit us and reduce stress.
       Talk to your doctor before taking supplements to reduce the risk of adverse reactions.
       Be aware of the potential side effects of vitamins and seek medical advice if symptoms occur.

Post time: Sep-12-2023