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Who should avoid supplements and vitamins?

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Supplements can keep some medications from working as well as they should. Talk to your doctor before you take any supplements. People who should avoid certain types include:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women, because some supplements can be dangerous to the baby
  • People who take heart medications, diuretics, blood thinners, aspirin, drugs that turn down the immune system, and steroids.
  • People who are going to have surgery, because some products may lead to bleeding and other complications.
  • People who’ve had cancer or are getting treated for it. Some supplements could help cancer cells grow or make treatments for the disease less effective.

SOURCES:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPyramid.gov.

Fairfield, K. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002.

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: “What Dietary Supplements Are You Taking?”

Dee Sandquist, MS, RD.

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Herbal Products and Supplements: What You Should Know.”

Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, Cleveland Clinic.

FDA: “Tips for the Savvy Supplement User: Making Informed Decisions and Evaluating Information.”

National Institutes of Health: “State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Prevention,” May 15-17, 2006.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2005.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 20, 2020

SOURCES:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPyramid.gov.

Fairfield, K. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002.

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: “What Dietary Supplements Are You Taking?”

Dee Sandquist, MS, RD.

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Herbal Products and Supplements: What You Should Know.”

Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, Cleveland Clinic.

FDA: “Tips for the Savvy Supplement User: Making Informed Decisions and Evaluating Information.”

National Institutes of Health: “State-of-the-Science Conference Statement on Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements and Chronic Disease Prevention,” May 15-17, 2006.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2005.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on February 20, 2020

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