(ABC) -Vitamins and supplements are big business, but there is a downside. Researchers estimate supplements are responsible for more than 23,000 emergency room visits every year, and 10 percent of them were serious enough to require hospitalization.
More Americans are taking dietary supplements and, according to a new study by federal health experts, many of them are ending up in the emergency department as a result. The study was a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.
"We found that over a quarter of them were young adults. These are people aged 20 to 34. These people were using supplements for weight loss or energy. Over a fifth were young children, that's 20 percent that had gotten into supplements intended for somebody else," said Dr. Andrew Geller, CDC Medical Officer.
But the nutritional supplement industry insists the majority of their products are safe and the study's results are being overblown.
"The headline, '23,000 emergency room visits every year are caused by supplements,' is like wow! That sounds like a lot. But relatively speaking, it's less than five percent of all emergency room visits," Dr. Geller said.
Dr. Geller advises everyone to take precautions with these products.
"To all supplement consumers, we encourage you to report to your doctor that you are taking supplements. And to store your supplements as you would medication, up and away from kids," Dr. Geller said.
Dietary supplements in the United States don't require safety testing or FDA approval before being sold and marketed. So, unlike prescription drugs, dietary supplements are considered safe until proven otherwise.
In other health news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a weight loss options luncheon on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 11:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The cost is $5 and includes a healthy lunch. The guest speaker will be bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Sawyer. He will be discussing innovative weight loss options. For more information and to make a reservation, call 580-585-5406.