Something About Supplements Vs Medications
It may seem like a small distinction, but it is important to understand: Prescription drugs are FDA-approved and have undergone rigorous testing. Supplements, however, are not. They cannot be marketed and tested as medicines by the FDA. It doesn’t, however, mean they’re not safe or effective. In fact, many supplements can have dangerous interactions with prescription medicines. These interactions are also based on the pharmacokinetic and psychodynamic principles that apply for drug-drug interactions. This is according to Gill Jenkins a UK GP and an advisor at Health and Food Supplements Information Service.
What’s more, the same nutrients found in some supplements – iron, for example – can interfere with certain medicines, such as antibiotics, birth control pills and blood thinners. St. John’swort, a common supplement, can speed up the way that certain medicines are metabolized in the body and reduce their effectiveness. And ginkgo biloba thins the blood, so taking it and prescription blood thinners like warfarin could be dangerous.
Overdosing is possible with some vitamins, particularly the fat-soluble ones. These are stored by the body and may reach toxic levels. Water-soluble Vitamins, like vitamin C and vitamin B, are excreted via urine. Therefore they pose less toxicity risk.
The biggest problem with the growing popularity and use of supplements, however, is that some people believe they can replace a healthy diet. That’s a big mistake. If you eat well-balanced food, the majority your vitamins and nutrients should come from it. If you need extra, a doctor can recommend specific vitamins and minerals. A woman of childbearing years is advised to take a daily supplement containing 0.4 mg of folate to prevent birth defects.
A health care provider will want to know everything that you eat and drink, including your knodlege about Supplements vs Medications,. Many people don’t tell their health care providers about the products in their medicine cabinet or bathroom drawer, but they should.
It’s been 25 years since landmark legislation established a clear line between drugs and supplements. The line between supplements and drugs is still unclear. It’s not the source, chemical structure or the way it is marketed that makes a product a supplement or a drug, but intent. That’s why, even after DSHEA was passed, it is still so important to report any new supplements or ingredients you are taking to your health care professional. That’s the only way they can ensure you are not putting yourself at risk by interacting with your prescribed medications.