Consumer reports takes on vitamins and supplements.

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Consumer reports takes on vitamins and supplements.

For many of us, taking dietary supplements is a way of life. Many of the processed foods we eat are believed to be less nutritious than they should be, which helps fuel the vitamin industry. As a rule, I personally take three multi packs of a vitamin supplement to fill in for what I need in my diet. Many of you do the same. While most of us benefit from this, there are supplements that may have medicinal effects. Others may interact with a medication you are taking. Consumer reports is usually quite objective, so for anyone taking or believing in the necessity of dietary supplementation, you will want to read this article.

Don't assume they're safe because they're 'all natural'

Consumer Reports magazine: September 2012
More than half of American adults take vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other nutritional supplements. Some of those products aren't especially helpful, readers told us in a recent survey, but that aside, don't assume they're safe because they're "all natural." They may be neither. Here are 10 hazards that we've distilled from interviews with experts, published research, and our own analysis of reports of serious adverse events submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, which we obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Read and be warned.

1. Supplements are not risk-free

More than 6,300 reports of serious adverse events associated with dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbs, streamed into the FDA from supplement companies, consumers, health-care providers, and others between 2007 and mid-April of 2012. The reports by themselves don't prove the supplements caused the problems, but the raw numbers are cause for some concern. Symptoms included signs of heart, kidney, or liver problems, aches, allergic reactions, fatigue, nausea, pains, and vomiting.
The reports described more than 10,300 serious outcomes (some included more than one), including 115 deaths and more than 2,100 hospitalizations, 1,000 serious injuries or illnesses, 900 emergency-room visits, and some 4,000 other important medical events. read more