Tennessee Health Department warning of diet supplements

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If you are using or considering using products marketed as dietary supplements, the Tennessee Department of Health recommends talking with your healthcare provider to understand your needs and risks. This TDH recommendation follows a recent study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration which reported injuries and emergency room visits associated with dietary supplements including energy and weight loss products.

Consumers of dietary supplements should understand the products are not as tightly regulated as food or drugs and there is growing concern about their impact on health.

"We strongly encourage people who believe they need energy, weight loss or any other such products to talk with their doctor before using them," said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. "There may be safer, more effective options. It's also important to let your healthcare provider know about any dietary supplements you are using because some may have adverse interactions with other medications or cause your provider to misinterpret information or test results during examinations."

The study, published Oct. 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine, reviewed nearly 10 years of data from 63 emergency departments that treated patients with adverse events related to dietary supplements. Among the more frequent issues were heart palpitations and chest pain. The study also included data about unsupervised children who had ingested supplements.

"It's important for parents to keep all dietary supplement products in a secure location where they cannot be accessed and ingested by children," said TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Michael Warren, MD, MPH. "If parents suspect their child may have swallowed a dietary supplement and is having some type of adverse reaction, they should call 911 immediately."


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