Dietary supplements not without risksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dietary-supplements/MY01408
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Aug. 12, 2010
Dietary supplements not without risks
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Do you take dietary supplements? Thinking about it? Considering one that says "all natural" because you want to avoid prescription drugs or anything synthetic?
Before you try any dietary supplements, take a close look at the bottle and the science behind the claims. Then proceed with caution. Here's why:
- Just because you can purchase a supplement, that doesn't mean it's safe. Dietary supplements don't undergo the same scrutiny that's required of prescription medications.
- Dietary supplements, including herbal supplements, aren't benign. Whether they're in the form of pills, drinks, powders or foods, supplements can have strong effects in the body. Supplements can also interact with prescription medicines, leading to potentially dangerous reactions.
- "All natural" on the bottle is no guarantee that a supplement is in fact all natural. In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration has discovered chemicals, prescription drugs and steroids in some supplements.
- Few supplements have rigorous science to support their claims. In all fairness, it's possible the science just isn't there yet. Whatever the reason, you're in uncharted waters when it comes to most supplements.
If you're currently taking or considering taking dietary supplements, keep a few key points in mind:
- Be skeptical. If a claim seems too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you're taking a supplement and if you experience any problems with it.
- Look at the big picture. Some groups may be more at risk for adverse effects with supplements. These include teenagers, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who take multiple medications and those planning to undergo surgery.
- Look at your lifestyle. Why are you considering taking a supplement? Could you achieve the same results by getting more sleep, starting to exercise or eating a healthy diet?
What have been your experiences with supplements? Positive? Negative? If you had an adverse reaction, was it mild or severe?
- Katherineblog index
- A 'dirty dozen' list of supplements consumers should avoid. Consumer Reports. http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2010/08/yonkers-ny-a-new-investigation-in-the-september-issue-of-consumer-reports-and-available-online-at-wwwconsumerreportshea.html. Accessed Aug. 10, 2010.