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Natural supplements may cause dangerous interactions with medications
05.01.2012Nutritional supplements and herbal remedies can serve an important function in the health of many people. However, one expert is warning patients and physicians that these supplements may interact with the function of pharmaceuticals, and individuals should be aware of this risk before starting any natural therapies.
In a new article published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Catherine Ulbricht wrote that many so-called natural remedies can lead to potentially serious health consequences when taken with medications.
For example, she pointed out that garlic, ginko, ginger and saw palmetto have all been linked to bleeding when taken with other drugs. Chromium, cinnamon and whey protein can all lead to lower blood sugar levels. Blackroot, green tea, hawthorne and mate can all contribute to high blood pressure.
Ulbricht said that "natural" does not always mean that a product is safe. She stressed the fact that if something has an effect in the body, it has the potential to lead to drug interactions. People should not simply assume that supplements can always be taken with other medications.
She recommended that physicians and patients who are taking medications that are intended to address these areas of health be aware of the risks associated with herbal therapies. This may help reduce the chances of experiencing complications.
Studies have shown that the use of vitamins and other types of supplements is on the rise. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that more than one-half of all adults currently use some type of herbal or vitamin supplement. This could put individuals who also take medications at risk. Healthcare and wellness programs may be able to counsel people to help them avoid such problems.
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