Most of the time all it takes to sell supplements (including herbs and vitamins) is finding a weak spot in a customer who will be unaware of possible dangers, a lot of these carry with them. While the Supplement Industry grows and has now reached $37 billion, a number of recent studies show that they either don't work, or have strange effects. Even more so, the supplements have been linked with a very large number of visits to emergency rooms, even deaths. While the FDA is making attempts to recall the supplements it finds containing bacteria or banned drugs, the supplement industry is yet to be properly regulated.

Supplement dangers much greater than thought

Supplement users usually expect miracles, but most often end up with spent money and no benefits, actually putting themselves at a great risk. Two recent studies clearly speak to that effect. A 2016 study titled "Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Events Related to Dietary Supplements" based on the data spanning years from 2004 to 2013 estimated that every year there were 23,005 visits to emergency rooms caused by supplements. Another study from 2017, "An Increase in Dietary Supplement Exposures Reported to US Poison Control Centers", over that period 34 people died as a result of problematic supplements, one of them being ephedra, once popular weight-loss supplement that was banned in 2004.

According to S. Bryn Austin, a professor of behavioral sciences at Harvard University, there is no clear evidence that supplements are beneficial, and that their users are actually putting themselves at a clear risk. Yet another study conducted by the University of Colorado showed that supplements like over-the-counter vitamins increase the chance that their users can develop cancer and Heart Disease.

The study mentioned among examples that the exceeding the dosage of beta carotene, a supplement that is supposed to boost the immune system can increase the risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease by 20%.

What supplement users should have in mind

Imposing stricter regulations on the sale of over-the-counter supplements is yet to take place, so people using, or intending to use them should have a few things in mind before they do so.

The first thing to do is to consult your physician before taking anything, you may not even be in a need for supplements. The thing that should be on the mind of every supplement user is that they are not risk-free and that some supplements can turn out to contain same ingredients as prescription drugs, often the ones that have been recalled.

Another thing to have in mind is that warning labels on supplement are often undependable and can lack, or contain false information. Some products that are claimed to be natural are certainly anything but.Also, vitamins and minerals are certainly beneficial, but if you use more of them than is required or needed, there is a possibility of an overdose. As all the recent information speaks, an extra dose of caution is in order if you are using, or think of using supplements.