Supplements are an increasingly integral component of a healthy lifestyle, and the subject of increasing speculation as a result. Are dietary supplements harmful? What about the side effects? Do they cause cancer? PharmaNutrics debunks the myths.
1. “Dietary supplements are harmful in combination with medication”
A mutual yet harmless interaction occurs when taking food supplements and medication simultaneously. Dietary supplements can have an impact on the absorption, metabolism and excretion of medication:
- Vitamin K can have an effect on anticoagulants.
- Certain plant extracts can have an effect on anticoagulants.
Certain medicines can in turn affect the nutrient status:
- Cholesterol-lowering medication can cause excessively low levels of coenzyme Q10.
- Diuretics can lead to decreased levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalaemia).
- Antacids can cause deficiencies in vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium.
- Antiepileptics can cause a vitamin D deficiency.
However, dietary supplements aren’t harmful providing you respect the recommended dosages. PharmaNutrics dietary supplements are developed in accordance with European and Belgian legislation and specify the recommended daily allowance (RDA) and the NUT number on the packaging.
2. “Dietary supplements can cause side effects”
Like any other foods or chemical substances, dietary supplements can contain allergens, preservatives or certain plant preparations that may cause allergic reactions or intolerances. However, these are rarely if ever life-threatening and, just like the RDA, PharmaNutrics clearly specifies these on the packaging.
3. “Dietary supplements can lead to cancer”
There’s no scientific evidence that normal or even high doses trigger cancer. Research shows for example, that smoking remains the key risk factor for lung cancer in smokers who take dietary supplements.
In fact, certain supplements have a positive effect on cancers, and can consequently support and even enhance cancer treatments. Ginger for example, helps to reduce nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, valerian can help to alleviate sleep problems and vitamin B6 plays a role in hand-foot syndrome. At PharmaNutrics, we always recommend discussing your dietary supplements with your oncologist.
4. “Dietary supplements can compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle”
Dietary supplements cannot make up for a structurally unhealthy lifestyle. For optimal effect, they should be taken as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep.
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