You dutifully take your multi-vitamin and supplements every day with the goal of being as healthy as you can, but those substances may actually be doing more harm than good. Every year, 23,000 people end up in the emergency room because of vitamins and herbal supplements, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. And since supplements are essentially an unregulated market, that number isn’t going to go down anytime soon.
Researchers reviewed data regarding supplements and vitamins and found that, even if you don’t count the kids who mistake vitamins for candy and overdose on the stuff, thousands of people are heading to the hospital every month. The main cause appears to be herbal supplements, and particularly those supplements that promise weight loss or a great night’s sleep.
No doubt, part of the reason for the danger is the fact that herbal supplements don’t need FDA approval before they hit the shelves. That is because Utah senator Orrin Hatch – who, not coincidentally, lives in a state with a lot of herbal supplement manufacturers – authored a bill 20 years ago that allowed herbal supplement manufacturers to make health claims that don’t require any federal review about their safety or effectiveness. Bottom line, do your research and approach vitamins and supplements with a critical eye.