With over 90,000 different supplements on the market, it can be confusing to figure out which ones are safe and which ones are not. If you are considering using an herbal supplement, you need to know that many herbal supplements may interact with prescription and non-prescription medications, and may cause some very serious interactions and side effects. For instance, taking a combination of herbal supplements, or using supplements along with prescription medications, could result in harmful, even life-threatening, results.
Supplements can cause unwanted or dangerous side effects, particularly when they interact with your medications. Herbal products may present an unexpected risk, as many supplements contain active ingredients that exert powerful effects on your body. However, herbs and botanical products – including products labelled natural – may have powerful effects on the body.
It is unclear if vitamins and minerals exert the same effects in the body if taken as supplements. Think about it like this: Whole foods provide a mixture of minerals, enzymes, fiber, and other substances that can help your body absorb and utilize those nutrients. Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium are the only trace minerals required to appear on food labels.
Food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in decreasing order of weight (from most to least). Code SS 82.08.0293 provides an exception for foods and ingredients, as well as which items are included as foods and ingredients. Although food additives are not considered to be foods and food ingredients in West Virginia, a law on July 1, 2014, that made the food and food ingredients exemption apply to dietary additives, too.
There is an exemption from Section 201(ff)(3)(B) where the substance was sold as a dietary supplement or conventional food prior to approval of a medication, or prior to authorization of an inquiry into the new medication, whichever applies. When a substance is excluded from the definition of dietary supplement under section 201 (ff) (3)(B) of the F.D.C., the exclusion applies unless FDA, in its discretion, has issued a rule, following notice and comment, finding that the product would be legal under the F.D.C.
For example, manufacturers and distributors that want to sell dietary supplements containing newdietary ingredients (i.e., dietary ingredients not sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement prior to Oct. 15, 1994) must typically notify FDA about such ingredients (see Section 413(d) of the Federal Food Act. It is important to note that the FDA does not have authority to review products that are made with dietary supplements to ensure their safety and efficacy prior to marketing. The FDA regulates herbs and other dietary supplements in a different way than it does traditional medications.
Herbal supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but they are not subject to the same strict regulations that are applied to prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The Nutritional Supplement Health and Education Act has granted manufacturers of herbal supplements an exemption from regulation (see www.fda.gov/ regulatory information/legislation/). If you experience an adverse reaction from an herbal supplement, you can report a possible reaction to FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or contact them at 1-800-FDA-1088. FDA maintains a list of supplements that are being reviewed for safety or that have been reported causing an adverse effect.
The FDA may take action against companies making false or unsupported claims in order to market their supplements. The FDA is aware of certain companies marketing products that contain hemp-derived and marijuana-derived compounds in ways that are a violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and may endanger the health and safety of consumers. Some of these products are in additional Federal food violations because they are being sold as food additives, or because they include CBD in foods. Texas does not consider vitamins or dietary supplements food products, but rather considers them medical supplies, which are exempt from sales taxes.
It should be noted that nutritional supplements were exempt before the 2005 repeal of the South Dakota exemption. SS 67-6-228 provides a distinction between low- and high-tax rates on food products. Foods like acidophilus-based milk products, soymilk, yeast from the bakers, rosehip powder used to make tea, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ will be eligible for classification as food. People with food sensitivities or allergies may be able to get helpful information from ingredient lists on labels.
Most manufacturers provide toll-free numbers for answering questions about a particular food item and its ingredients. Even if they are unaware of a particular supplement, they can probably direct you to the latest health guidelines on its use and risks. An easy way to compare ingredients in products is by using the Database of Dietary Supplement Labels, available through the website for the US National Institutes of Health.
Finally, make sure you speak to your diabetes care team before making changes: Your healthcare team can help you decide whether adding a vitamin or supplement to your regimen is the right move. Unless your health care provider is prescribing a particular vitamin or supplement, adding another pill to your regimen is likely not that beneficial or cost-effective. If you are experiencing symptoms you think a supplement might solve, talk to your health care provider before trying to self-medicate. The herbal supplements feverfew, ginger, and ginkgo may interact with certain drugs used to treat breast cancer, as well as a wide variety of other medications. Both Vitamin E and the herb St. Johns wort can have dangerous interactions with blood-thinning drugs used for heart disease – increasing the risk that you will bleeding. Because cinnamon is an aromatic spice, you can use it to enliven food rather than using a sugary seasoning.