GREENSBORO, N.C. — Go to any grocery store, big box store, or even the mall and you'll find supplements and vitamins. There are shelves of them for you to pick from.
A lot of folks like supplements because they're more "natural" than medicines, but that doesn't mean they're any less dangerous.
Just recently, the coroner released the autopsy of Lori McClintock, the wife of Congressman Tom McClintock. It shows she died from dehydration due to gastroenteritis and adverse effects from white mulberry leaf ingestion. The supplement is touted online as an appetite control supplement and helpful in lowering blood sugar levels.
Supplements are usually near the pharmacy, which may lead you to believe they're regulated like medicines, but that's not true.
“They're not so highly regulated like medications are and so what you're actually getting may not do what it's touted to do because they don't have to have the scientific rigor medications do, they're treated as food,” said Dr. Dana Hunnes, a Registered Dietician
They're treated as food, which then goes back to the thinking they're more "natural" than medications. You are buying them because you want to see a change in your body, which is why experts say, you need to ask your health care provider about them, especially if you take other medications.
“Just picking one up willy-nilly off the counter to say it's good for your health doesn't mean it is. To be quite honest too many people take supplements without the recommendation of their doctors or dieticians,” said Hunnes.
The National Institutes of Health have several resources for you so you can see the latest scientific information on dietary supplements.
- Office of Dietary Supplements
ODS provides accurate and up-to-date scientific information about dietary supplements.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine
NCCIH also has scientific information about dietary supplement ingredients.
- National Library of Medicine
Medline Plus provides trusted health information.
PubMed contains more than 30 million citations to the scientific literature.
- NIH Health Information
Information about healthy living and wellness from across NIH.