Don’t overdose on supplements. They can impact your organs

Published on: 26 January 2022, 22:11 pm IST

Are you someone who has been relying heavily on supplements for their immunity-boosting properties during the pandemic? If yes, it’s time to hit the pause button and read this.

immunity supplements
Are you taking too many immunity supplements? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Immunity supplements are taken with the notion that they help in preventing
infections and keeping diseases at bay naturally. However, there is no evidence to support it. With repeated Covid-19 waves, people are resorting to regular consumption of immunity supplements over a prolonged period, which can pose significant health hazards.

Consuming nutritious food, eating more whole plant foods, healthy fats, fermented foods rich in probiotics, limiting sugar intake, drinking adequate water, managing your stress levels along with regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are the most important ways to bolster your immune system. Getting vaccinated on time is the need of the hour. Don’t skip the vaccination schedule of your children. Similarly, elderly people more than 65 years, people with comorbidities, and lung ailments should be vaccinated against pneumonia and influenza.

supplements
Complete your vaccination course on time to be fully protected. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But what are the drawbacks of supplements?

Many herbal products can pose unexpected risks as they have ingredients that have strong effects on the body. Always consult your doctor before consuming any herbal medication, and avoid prolonged unsupervised use.

Severe kidney and liver damage warranting transplants have been seen. Giloy, a herb used during the Covid-19 pandemic was associated with cases of acute liver injury. Exceeding the dose and duration of any medication may definitely lead to unwarranted health hazards.

Prolonged consumption of kadha to ward off Covid-19 did lead to severe acidity, acid reflux, heartburn, and bleeding from the stomach due to gastric ulcers, piles, nausea, and vomiting. consumption of hot water did bring patients to OPD with burns in the mouth and food pipe. Too much use of steam did damage the nasal mucosa and made people prone to sinus infections. Too much consumption of turmeric led to diarrhea, headaches, and yellow stools. Too much tulsi consumption also led to liver injury, since it interacted with blood thinners. This is why it was not advisable for pregnant ladies.

supplements
Sure, it has its own benefits, but you still can’t ignore the side-effects of drinking too much kadha. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Excessive intake of vitamin pills over a prolonged period also should also be avoided, especially those containing high doses of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. This can lead to neurological problems, high calcium levels, muscular weakness and liver damage, irregular heartbeats, appetite loss, nerve damage.

Selenium overdose can cause brittle nails, hair and nerve damage, and gastric upset. Zinc supplements taken for a long time can cause copper and iron deficiency, causing anemia and decreasing immunity. In fact, they make you more prone to infections. Excessive intake of vitamin C can trigger acidity, cause nausea and diarrhea, and interfere with the antioxidant-pro-oxidant balance of the body

To avoid complications from excessive immunity boosters, please talk to your doctor before using them. Also, read about the contents of your supplements, avoid unnecessarily prolonged usage and follow a healthy lifestyle that is more imperative in building immunity.

Dr Manjusha Agarwal Dr Manjusha Agarwal

Senior consultant-internal medicine, Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai

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