Are You Taking Too Many Supplements?

Are you taking too many supplements? How expensive is your pee?

How much money are you literally peeing into the toilet? Funny thought, huh.

You all know I LOVE my Medical Assistant, Roxanne. And Roxanne loves finding random supplements on Amazon. She follows MANY groups that keep telling her to buy more and more natural options for gut health.

One day I watched Roxanne swallow all of these pills and noted, “I bet you have really expensive urine.” Apparently I hit a nerve. Roxanne totaled up her “gut health” costs – $306.75 in the past 2 months. And that is all on herbal remedies. Yikes!

So, the ultimate question remains – did she need them? Here’s a list of Roxanne’s supplements. Any look familiar to you?

Roxanne’s Herbal Cocktail:

  • Mimosa Pudica Seed – Also known as the sensitive plant, there is surprisingly little information out there about this plant. From what I can tell, it has been used for a variety of ailments from diarrhea to sexual dysfunction and wound care.
  • Nac-Acetylcysteine – As a Doctor, I think of this as a treatment for Tylenol overdoses but that was NOT Roxanne’s use – I believe that was for it’s antioxidant properties. Roxanne said that she was given it as a “supplement for IBS and bacterial overgrowth in her GI system.”
  • Dysbiocide – this is a blend of herbs for GI stimulation and general gut health. The largest active ingredient is dill.
  • FC-Cidal – an herbal blend designed to eliminate yeast or fungus from the GI system. Recommendations are from 6 weeks to 6 months of treatment.
  • Vitamin-D – Vitamin D is necessary for bone and teeth health. This can be given in a prescription form as well.
  • Probiotics – Lactobacillus is found in foods as well as in supplement form. It helps to introduce good bacteria in your GI system.
  • GI Microbial – Ingredients include glucosamine, aloe vera, chamomile, and zinc. It helps maintain the lining of the GI system.
  • Advocare Spark Care – A blend of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and caffeine to promote energy.

That’s a lot. And Roxanne is not alone. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 76% of American adults reported taking supplements in 2018, totaling $43 billion in the US in 2018. And the majority those supplements were for general health and wellness benefits.

are you taking too many supplements

Is That Too Many Supplements?

Let’s be honest. I would love to break down Roxanne’s supplements but that’s nearly impossible. Who knows what Roxanne is taking with all those supplements? Not me and not her. And I’m sure she is peeing out the majority of it.

More is not necessarily better in the supplement world. As many of you know, supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. That’s because they are considered “food” over “medicine.”

Because of that, fewer (if any) studies are done in humans. And most of our data comes from animal testing alone. That and case studies from people presenting to the Emergency Room from supplement side effects is all the data we get.

There have been many case reports of toxicity in humans from supplements. Additionally, herbal supplements can interact with prescription medications either increasing or decreasing their effectiveness.

That’s why checking with your Doctor on supplement safety if you are taking prescription medication is so important. And studies show that 70%

What Should You Look for in Your Supplements?

Although the FDA does not approve supplements, there are a few organizations that review supplements to make sure you are getting what is advertised.

Start by making sure your supplement is approved by one of the following organizations: USP (United States Pharmacopeia), NSF International, and ConsumerLab.com.

Consider going for a specific supplement instead of a combination. Many GI Doctor’s recommend peppermint for irritable bowel. Just pick the peppermint, not the combination. That will decrease potential negative effects and still give you the desired results.

Do You Need Supplements?

I heard the best advice on supplements from Dr. Ravindra Ganesh from the Mayo Clinic. He said, “Food is the ultimate supplement.” Turmeric is the rage these days. Instead of paying $50 for the supplement, eat turmeric.

Less than 5% of patients report eating a healthy diet. That is a much less expensive and safer way to get your supplements in than taking pills. Give it a try.

What happened to Roxanne’s Supplements?

In the end, I challenged Roxanne to quit them all and see if she noticed a difference. She took me up on it. Guess what? She didn’t. I do think a few have snuck back in over time. I’ll keep you updated. Check out my Instagram…

Simple Solutions: Dietary supplements sound so healthy, natural, and safe. But they may not be. Check with your Doctor for interactions and consider eating foods rich in those supplements instead. It will be less expensive and safer.

If you would like to learn more about your specific supplements, check out: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/diagnosis-treatment/symptom-management/integrative-medicine/herbs/search

If you would like to learn more about Roxanne’s medical exploits, check out: https://doctormome.com/post/stop-those-sugar-cravings/

2 Comments

  1. Emily Finlason

    What’s your opinion about taking melatonin??? I feel like everyone takes it these days!

    Reply
    • doctormome

      Such a great question – I was just asked that last night! I will get a post for you on sleep aides. Melatonin actually is a great choice for insomnia BUT people like to skip over more effective parts first…Those include sleep hygiene and take a little more work.

      Reply

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