Americans are consuming dietary supplements in record numbers. It's estimated that, last year alone, 192 million of us took supplements, and spent $23 billion on them.
But -- are they always safe? Or are we over-doing it, getting too much of what might otherwise be a good thing?
On The Early Show Wednesday, registered dietitian Keri Glassman stressed that supplements are meant to do just that -- supplement your diet. But, she added, we should be getting most of our nutrients from food.
However, many people fall short on certain nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin E, vitamin D, and essential fatty acids. And certain groups of people may need supplements (the elderly, vegetarians, pregnant women, etc).
There is absolutely a time and place for supplements, Glassman says. But she advises people to use them as "insurance" to supplement a healthy diet.
And they can be harmful in LARGE DOSES, Glassman points out -- more isn't always better. And, when they INTERACT with each other and/or medications, problems could result.
The kidneys remove what the body doesn't need. But, overdoing some of them can still lead to problems:
B vitamins: upset stomach, flushing, nerve damage
Folic acid: another B vitamin, this can hide signs of B12 deficiency, a condition that can cause nerve damage.
Vitamin C: upset stomach, increased iron absorption
They're stored in the body. They include A, D, E and K. Possible problems include: