Next up in the news is a look at the challenges all health care professionals face with dealing with patients who self-treat or routinely use dietary supplements. We all know that the claims made by these supplements and touted by internet so-called health experts are not backed up by peer-reviewed studies or by FDA oversight.

Thousands Hospitalized by Supplements

Food supplement vitaminsRecently the New England Journal of Medicine release the results of a CDC study on the overall safety of food supplements and the results are quite alarming. The researchers looked at the frequency in which food supplements led to emergency department visits and found the number in the thousands. More than 23,000 to be exact. That’s 23,000 ER visits related directly to use, misuse or overuse of food supplements with about 10 percent of those patients getting subsequently admitted to the hospital.

The CDC also points out in their research that they were very conservative in their estimates and based on other studies and research, the numbers and estimated harm caused by supplements is likely much worse. Supplements are sold and advertised as completely safe. We know from several lawsuits and pending actions by State Attorneys General that the supplements themselves may not even contain the active ingredient they are supposed to contain.

The supplement industry won the right to be unregulated years ago by arguing that they are natural and safe to use. That is clearly not the case based on these numbers. The time has come to bring these supplements under the oversight of government regulation so that their claims can be substantiated or refuted and their manufacture can receive the proper oversight.

I’m sure you have an opinion about this. I know many nurses that tout the positive effects of many natural remedies and supplements. Tell me what you think. Shoot me an email to NursingShow@gmail.com or leave a comment on this article over at NursingShow.com. I look forward to hearing what you think.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Nurse Tips for Patients of Breast Reconstruction and Episode 368.

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