Why should we keep track of our use of vitamins and other supplements and who should we tell?

February 11, 2010

 

119_1917aTaking vitamins is the number one way that U.S. citizens ‘complement’ the formal health care they receive. This is a finding that has been consistent for some years and the 2005 Institute of Medicine Report about use of complementary and alternative medicine [ http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2005/Complementary-and-Alternative-Medicine-in-the-United-States.aspx] considers this reality as well.

Many debates about using vitamins, minerals, and other supplements — including garlic or herbs or cinnamon or ginger — focus on getting us to eat ‘healthy’ rather than depending on vitamins to make up for a diet that may be lacking. Other debates focus on the cost of ‘unproven’ therapies.

Whatever the debate, keeping track of use increases our ability to report use to our doctors. Talking to our doctors about use may make the difference between a therapy working or not. Many prescribed medications have been found to interact with different vitamins and other supplements, spices, and/or herbs. Sometimes, we need more or less of a medication based on use. So keep track and talk about use to avoid harmful effects.     

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One Response to “Why should we keep track of our use of vitamins and other supplements and who should we tell?”

  1. Alex M says:

    Going to the doctor’s office can be a tricky experience. Studies show that we have between 15 and 20 seconds to tell the doctor why we are visiting his office. We all know that physicians are pressed for time. This can cause many patients to leave out valuable information when talking with their doctor. Part of being health literate means knowing what to share, and what not to share with our doctors. Sharing that we take vitamins or certain supplements is a must. As Dr. Parrott stated, certain vitamins can determine how your body will respond to medication. Although sharing this information with your physician may take a few more minutes, it will save you and the physician’s office money in the long run.

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