23 Thousand ER Visits Caused by Improper Use of Supplements

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Dietary supplements are not always as safe as you believe them to be. According to a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, each year around 23,000 people end up in emergency rooms due to improper use of dietary supplements.

Researchers monitored ER visits all around the U.S. for over 10 years and discovered that most injuries happened to people between the ages of 20 and 34 who had cardiovascular problems and were taking supplements meant to raise energy levels or help with weight-loss.

This study was the first one to reveal the frequency of injuries caused by supplements made by multi-billion industries.

The study was led by researchers at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is only one more negative thing discovered about food and medical products, which don’t undergo as much testing and quality and safety control as they should. But the representatives of the companies whose products have been causing injuries claim that more than 50 percent of Americans use those supplements and the number of injuries is relatively small (probably thinking insignificant). Supplements actually do cause much less injuries than prescription drugs – in fact prescription drugs cause thirty times more ER visits than supplements.

Symptoms caused by supplements that made thousands of people visit emergency rooms include:

1. chest pain

2. heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats

3. allergic reactions, and nausea or vomiting


Ten percent of all the people who visited the ER for these reasons had to be hospitalized. The study didn’t assess the number of deceased persons whose deaths were caused by improper use of supplements, but only the number of visits to the emergency room.

Among the supplements that caused health problems for thousands of people, as the study shows, there were:

1. Black Jack Energy

2. Raspberry Ketones

3. Hydroxycut

4. Xenadrine

With thousands of supplements on the market, choosing the right one can be very difficult, especially considering how dangerous they can be.

You should always read the labels very carefully in order to see all the nutrients and ingredients included. You should undergo some tests to find out whether you’re allergic to something that could be found in some supplements and then stay away from those containing these ingredients.  Many supplements can cause side effects if you use them improperly – mix them with other supplements that don’t react well when combined, taking them in doses higher than recommended, taking a supplement produced by a suspicious company, or taking supplements which you shouldn’t take if you have a health condition.

Moreover, supplements should NOT be taken instead of or in combination with prescribed medication, unless your health care expert approves it.

For instance, people with high blood pressure should never take supplements which contain caffeine. That means that energy drinks, caffeine pills and many other beverages are out of question. You should always check the label of a product before you buy it, especially before you ingest it.

Supplements should never be a replacement for a properly balanced diet.

It is always better to choose natural foods, drinks and take all that your body needs from them than to take numerous supplements that could even be dangerous for you. If you want to lose weight – drink more water, eat healthier foods and be physically active; don’t take some diet pill thinking it will solve all your problems. If you need energy (and you don’t have high blood pressure), drink a cup of coffee instead of taking energy drinks that are also packed with sugars. Try to take in all the vitamins you need from fruits and vegetables. Yogurt and healthy grains are better probiotics than probiotic pills.

Nature gave us everything we need. However, if you still want to take supplements, pay attention to what goes in them.