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Dietary Supplements may be Causing Problems for some Americans

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A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has identified that some people in the US are consuming too many dietary supplements. In certain cases, the overload of supplements has the potential to cause serious health problems.

The researchers used dietary surveys in order to examine the mineral intake of 8,860 men and women in the US. The individuals who admitted to using dietary supplements were already receiving an adequate supply of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and selenium through their regular diet. Results from the surveys suggested that the people who need mineral supplements the least, are those most likely to be taking them. This was particularly true in the case of women.

The researchers point out that although dietary supplements are helpful, it is not good for us to exceed recommended daily intake levels. Too much supplemental calcium for example has been linked to the formation of kidney stones. Older people are more likely to both exceed recommended calcium levels and to fall short of requirements.

Taking too much supplemental iron is also damaging and toxic to the body, causing the potential for serious health issues, and accelerating the progression of certain diseases. Too much iron can cause problems later in life as the accumulated iron negatively impacts many of the body’s systems. More is definitely not better in this case.

The health consequences of over-consuming magnesium and zinc are unknown. People who use supplements are most likely to boost their intake of these particular minerals. Researchers caution against exceeding the recommended limits of any minerals, suggesting instead that people get a dietary assessment if they are concerned about the mineral levels in their diets.

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition