FDA warns over supplements as illnesses reported


Source: Taipei Time

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged people to talk to their doctor before taking dietary supplements, as several reports of adverse health affects from taking dietary supplements without medical advice have come to light.

Many Taiwanese take dietary supplements regularly to maintain their health and some might have a false impression that taking higher doses of supplements is good or does no harm, but mixing drugs, supplements and certain foods can lead to dangerous interactions and reactions, the FDA said.

Taipei Medical University Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences professor Chen Jiun-rong (陳俊榮) said a 60-year-old woman with cardiovascular disease took an anticoagulant regularly, but often suffered nosebleeds or unstoppable bleeding of wounds, because she ate home-grown chives daily and chives can block platelet clot formation.

“People with cardiovascular disease taking anticoagulants should avoid taking some dietary supplements, including fish oil, seal oil, ginkgo biloba extract or vitamin E,” FDA official Chou Pei-ju (周珮如) said.

Dietary supplements that contain red yeast rice or fermented soybeans should not be taken with cholesterol-lowering medications, such as Statins, Chou said.

Chen said there was a case of a 10-year-old who had yellowish skin pigmentation on his palms as a result of taking 20 to 30 chlorella tablets daily for about two months, hoping to improve his health.

In general, children do not need to take dietary supplements if they eat a balanced diet, he said.

If people taking dietary supplements develop unknown bruises, bleeding gums, black stools or uncomfortable symptoms, they should stop taking them and see a doctor as soon as possible, he added.