There are five classes of dietary supplements: vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, and fatty acids. These products exist in the form of pills, powders, gel tabs, extracts, liquids, and extracts and are intended to provide additional nutritional value to your diet.
Supplements become extremely popular in the last few decades. Today, its industry is well-established and generates billions of dollars annually. TV, Facebook, and, more recently, Instagram have been flooded with ads for all sorts of supplements, with digital influencers and celebrities endorsing some of the major brands operating in this market.
Dietary supplements can be bought without a doctor’s prescription, but we recommend that you consult with a specialist (such as a doctor or a nutritionist) so you can be sure your body will benefit from this new addition to your diet. Mainly because there are things that you need to be aware of.
Like the dangers of mixing different supplements and the dangers of mixing supplements with certain meds – today’s article will shed some light on this drug and supplement interaction.
1. Echinacea supplements
Echinacea is an herb that has been used in traditional medicine for a very long time, and that is one of the components in a wide range of medicine.
It can be used to treat the common cold and other types of infections. These supplements should not be taken together with immunosuppressants, caffeine, and medications changed by the liver. They may also increase the effect of Midazolam meds – and, consequently, their side effects.
Given the events of 2020, it is worth noting that echinacea supplements may also affect the immune system’s response to Covid-19. As with everything related to this new disease, the data gathered is not yet sufficient to scientifically prove this hypothesis. But it’s always good to be extra careful.
2. Fish oil supplements
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these supplements can be great for people who don’t eat oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and sprats as often as they should. The benefits of fish oil supplements include heart health support, healthy skin and bones, and inflammation reduction, among others.
Taking fish oil supplements while taking blood pressure medications can cause an adverse reaction in your system.
The supplements may increase the effect of the meds, and your blood pressure could drop to dangerous levels. A sudden drop can lead to dizziness, fainting, nausea, fatigue, and lack of concentration.
It’s also not a good idea to take oily fish supplements with herbs that slow blood clotting, certain antidepressants, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs because this mix increases the risk of blood clots and bleeding.
3. Magnesium supplements
Magnesium is a mineral that is abundantly present in foods such as dark chocolate, legumes, nuts, leafy greens, and bananas. Most people get enough magnesium from their diet, which is extremely important for the proper growth and maintenance of bones, and the function of nerves and muscles.
Taking magnesium supplements together with certain antibiotics (like Aminoglycoside, Tetracycline, and Quinolone antibiotics) might decrease the effectiveness of the latter.
They can also increase the risk of side effects of muscle relaxants and make your blood pressure drop too low when you take them together with high blood pressure meds.
4. Calcium supplements
As you know, calcium is an important mineral for the health of your bones and teeth (over 99% of the calcium in the body is contained in these two parts).
It also plays a role in your heart and nerves. Many people take calcium to treat or prevent conditions linked with low calcium levels, such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and muscle cramps, for example.
The dangers of calcium supplements occur when they are combined with antibiotics, bisphosphonates, Lanoxin, Verapamil, Sotalum, Lithium, and Diltiazem.
Newly published research also warns that, in some specific cases, taking calcium and vitamin D supplements together could be a major stroke risk factor.
The lead scientist responsible for this study also said during an interview that people who were instructed by their doctors to take these two supplements shouldn’t worry and can continue taking them safely.
However, those who are taking calcium and vitamin D supplements without medical approval should reassess their need to take those supplements and ask an expert for advice.
Additional info regarding vitamin D supplements: they may noticeably decrease the effectiveness of Lipitor, a common drug used to lower cholesterol levels.
5. Melatonin supplements
This natural hormone plays a key role in your sleep-wake cycle. At night, your body has high levels of melatonin. That’s why many people use melatonin supplements as a treatment method for insomnia and other sleep disorders that interfere with your sleeping schedule. It is also one of the most commonly used supplements to ease anxiety.
Side effects of melatonin supplements include depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased risk of seizure. Drowsiness is also another common side effect, so it’s probably not a good idea to take a melatonin supplement with sedative drugs such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
It also slows down blood clotting, which means that if you take them together with anticoagulant medications, you will be increasing the risk of easy bruising and bleeding.
6. Folic acid
Folic acid is the term used to designate the synthetic form of vitamin B-9. Both folic acid and folate are water-soluble forms of this vitamin, but the later occurs naturally in foods such as leafy vegetables, mushrooms, yeast, and certain fruits. Folic acid is also present in many other types of foods, such as cookies, bread, cereals, and pasta.
Folic acid supplements may reduce the risk of stroke in people who have a folic acid deficiency, and it is also used to reduce the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women – and in women who are trying to get pregnant.
It shouldn’t be taken with Fosphenytoin, Primidone, Phenytoin, and Phenobarbital (drugs used for seizures), Methotrexate (an immunosuppressant), and Pyrimethamine (used to treat parasite infections) as it can decrease their effectiveness.